This article was added by the user . TheWorldNews is not responsible for the content of the platform.

Shelter Warnings Startle Seoul as North Korea Attempts Satellite Launch

On Wednesday, North Korea attempted to launch its first military spy satellite. The attempt failed, with the missile crashing into the ocean – but not before startling many South Koreans, who were awoken by air raid sirens.

Many residents received a “wartime alert,” saying they should prepare the elderly and young to take shelter.

Minutes later, a second message appeared on phones, saying the warning was sent in error.

The warnings were prompted by the North Korean satellite launch, which headed south before crashing into the sea well off the coast.

Even for Seoul residents, who routinely deal with North Korean launches, the incident was startling.

16-year-old Kim Ji-woo started packing an emergency bag with snacks and a phone charger. She said she felt she had to do something, but wasn’t sure what, since the emergency message provided no details.

It is extremely rare for North Korean missiles to disrupt life in South Korea. That’s partly because there have been so many launches – about 100 since last year.

Many South Koreans don’t even know when North Korea fires a missile. It’s been years since a launch prompted air raid warnings in Seoul.

Seoul resident Choi Seul-gi was sleeping near an open window when she heard the sirens. She received an “evacuation alert” on her phone but didn’t know what was happening or where to evacuate.

Though many were confused, few seemed to panic. But now they have questions. Why was the message sent in error? Why didn’t all residents get the same warning? And where would they go if they did have to evacuate?

Seoul officials defended their approach, saying it is better to be safe than sorry. But there is a danger that people will ignore future alerts, says Seoul-based international relations professor Mason Richey.

“For me, the first concern is that with false positives like this – messages that are sent out an error,” Richey told VOA. “You condition people to not take these messages as seriously. And even if the delay in response to a true crisis is only a few seconds or a few minutes, that might actually make the difference between getting yourself to safety and not.”

South Korean officials may soon get the chance to do it all over again. North Korea Wednesday acknowledged their satellite launch failed and said they will attempt another very soon.