Eight separate emergency alerts were sent to people in the region around the Olympic Park in Pyeongchang, South Korea, on Wednesday, bringing the total number of government phone notifications during the Winter Games to at least 14, The New York Times reports. The push notifications are routinely sent by local and regional governments in Korea with information about possible nearby dangers like air pollution, fires, or extreme weather.
But at this point, they are mostly just freaking out Olympic attendees and spectators who don't speak Korean:
Always fun to get warning texts - especially when all you can read is “Emergency Alert” - FYI this one warns about the wild fires in the area. Ugh. #reporterlife #journalistlife #pyeongchang2018 #olympics #besafe #checkingin pic.twitter.com/NaiKo6Myqv
— Peter Akman (@PeterAkman) February 14, 2018
Julie Morreali, an attendee from Illinois, explained: "It's all in Korean — as, you know, it should be. We got one in the middle of the night, and we didn't know what it was. You hope for the best." Norwegian curler Thomas Ulsrud said when he got an alert, his first thought was a potential North Korean attack. "It was a little bit like, 'What is this?'" he said. "We're in the same building as the North Koreans, so it was like, 'What is going on here now?'"
Warnings to Olympic-area cell phone users have included alerts about possible forest fires, smoke, and the severe cold, as well as notifications about the extreme wind, which has been scuttling event plans. "We were scared in the beginning," said long-track speedskater Francesca Bettrone, of Italy. "I still don't know what they say." Read more about what's getting lost in translation at The New York Times. Jeva Lange