SEOUL, Oct. 6 (UPI) -- More than 70 elderly residents were evacuated Saturday from a South Korean village in the aftermath of a poison leak that killed five people and sickened 1,600.
A Sept. 27 accident at the compound of chemical maker Hube Global in the industrial city of Gumi released 8 tons of hydrofluoric acid, Yonhap news agency reported.
The poison can damage lungs and bones and affect the nervous system.
The villagers, among 300 people living in Bongsan-ri near Gumi, had demanded in a meeting with Gumi city officials to be relocated to a safe place.
Residents of another nearby village, Imcheon-ri, also were demanding to be relocated, officials said.
Five people died in the accident and 1,594 have been treated for nausea, rashes and other symptoms, More than 220 acres of crops and fruit have withered and about 1,300 livestock appear sick.
More than 70 companies have reported property damage totaling $8.5 million from the accident, disaster management officials said Saturday.
The region could be designated a special disaster zone.
The government's response to the accident has been heavily criticized. Firefighters initially failed to use a neutralizing agent on the leak and local authorities were said to be slow in evacuating factory workers and nearby residents.
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