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Friday, June 14, 2024

8 dead in Seoul amid heavy rain


At least eight people have died, six are missing and 14 others injured as flooding caused by worst downpour in 80 years hit parts of South Korean capital Seoul.

Heavy rain lashed Seoul and adjoining areas on Monday night submerging roads, flooding metro stations and causing blackouts across the city and neighbouring provinces.

Some areas received the highest rainfall in 80 years, Korea’s meteorological agency said. Weather officials said the rain was likely to continue over several days.

Yonhap news agency reported flooding homes, vehicles, buildings and subway stations on Tuesday after unprecedented rate of rain.

Parts of Seoul, the western port city of Incheon and Gyeonggi Province that surrounds Seoul received heavy rains of over 100 mm per hour Monday night, with per-hour precipitation in Seoul’s Dongjak district surpassing 141.5 mm at one point, the highest downpour per hour since 1942.

The Korea Meteorological Administration said up to 300 mm of more rain is forecast for the capital area through Thursday, with southern Gyeonggi Province likely to see rains surpassing 350 mm.

The downpours left five people dead and four others missing in Seoul, while in Gyeonggi Province, three had died and two others had gone missing as of 11 a.m. Tuesday, according to the government.

Images showed floodwater gushing down the steps of metro staircases, parked cars submerged up to their windows and people making their way across streets in knee-high water.

Local reports said three victims – two sisters in their forties and a 13-year-old girl – were living in a semi-basement apartment known as a banjiha.

These apartments, located below street level, gained prominence after being featured in the Oscar-winning South Korean film “Parasite”, which told the story of a poor family in such an apartment trying to find ways to make ends meet, the BBC said.

Rescue officials said they were unable to access the apartment as floodwaters had risen to waist-high levels on the street.

Of the other victims one was electrocuted, one was found under the wreckage of a bus stop and another died in a landslide.

At least 163 people in Seoul have been made homeless and have taken shelter in schools and public facilities, according to Yonhap.

The downpour also affected public transportation, as flooded railroads forced suspension of railway services in Seoul and Incheon.

South Korean president Yoon Suk-yeol ordered government officials to evacuate residents from high-risk areas, and urged businesses to grant employees flexible commuting hours on Tuesday morning.

The KMA continued to issue heavy rain warnings across Seoul and surrounding metropolitan areas, and said it expected rainfall for the central part of the country to continue at least until Wednesday.

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