This is not a drill: Emergency cellphone alerts at the Winter Games become annoy…


GANGNEUNG, South Korea — The clink of skates on ice, the multilingual cheers of followers, the rousing nationwide anthems — each Olympic Video games has its acquainted sonic pleasures.

The official sound of the 2018 Winter Olympics is shortly turning into the screech of emergency alerts on individuals’s cellphones.

Such notifications from native and regional governments are widespread all through South Korea. They bear warnings about air air pollution, excessive climate, earthquakes, fires and different attainable hazard. They’re very useful — if you recognize Korean, as a result of the messages are written in it.

However for a lot of the hundreds of worldwide athletes, journalists and spectators visiting for the video games, the alerts are a mystifying supply of panic, confusion or plain annoyance.

“We have been scared at first,” Francesca Bettrone, an extended-monitor speedskater from Italy, stated. “I nonetheless do not know what they are saying.”

There have been no less than 14 emergency alerts despatched to cellphones over the previous week, and people across the Olympic Park right here acquired eight separate, bleating alerts on Wednesday alone.

After the fifth or sixth alert on Wednesday (it was straightforward to lose rely), a few strangers ready in line for meals on the speedskating area started buying and selling recommendations on tips on how to alter the settings on their iPhones to dam the emergency notifications.

They might have merely adopted the lead of Marten Liiv, a speedskater from Estonia, who by no means bought a world knowledge plan for his telephone.

“I’ve heard all about them, however I do not get them,” Liiv stated with a shrug. “I am fortunate, perhaps.”

An e mail to the Pyeongchang Olympics Organizing Committee in search of a response to whether or not they had deliberate for the stir the alerts have brought about was not instantly answered.

It hasn’t helped that telephone alerts, and the potential scary message they could possibly be carrying, had been on individuals’s minds after a mistaken textual content alert final month in Hawaii about an inbound ballistic missile. With nuclear pressure associated to North Korea nonetheless operating excessive on the peninsula, some athletes stated the emergency notifications had despatched their imaginations into overdrive.

“It was a bit of bit like, What is that this?” Thomas Ulsrud, a Norwegian roller, stated about an alert he…



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