SEJONG-- The land ministry said Monday it put out an urgent bid to carry out research to establish new seismic design guidelines for airports and seaport facilities, one of the government's followup measures to an earthquake that rocked country's southeast last week.

The Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport will accept applications until Nov. 27 for studies on facility construction and retrofits that would minimize damage from earthquakes while maximizing preventive safety, ministry officials said.

A 5.4 magnitude tremor struck Pohang on Wednesday, with nearly 60 aftershocks following as of Monday morning. Nearby Gyeongju was hit by a 5.8 magnitude quake in September last year.

The land ministry is scheduled to determine new guidelines on earthquakes for the nation's ports, specifying requirements depending on the type and importance of each structure. Guidelines will also be set up for key support facilities, such as antenna towers, cables and waveguides.

Rep. Jeong Yong-ki had claimed after the Gyeongju earthquake that 40 percent of airport facilities did not incorporate seismic designs, making them vulnerable to massive damage from tremors.

"We expect to complete the research by first half of next year and begin facility reinforcements for structures that do not meet the standards under the new seismic design evaluation," a ministry official said.

Source: Yonhap News Agency