September 27, 2022

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Record rain leaves at least 8 dead in South Korea's capital

Record rain leaves at least 8 dead in South Korea’s capital

SEOUL (Reuters) – At least eight people died in and around Seoul overnight, South Korean authorities said on Tuesday, after torrential rains caused power outages, triggered landslides and inundated roads and subways.

The southern part of the national capital received more than 100 mm (3.9 inches) of rain per hour late Monday, with 141.5 mm falling in some parts of the city, the highest rainfall in decades, according to the Korea Meteorological Administration (KMA) .

The average rainfall in Seoul since midnight Monday was 451 mm as of 2 p.m. Tuesday, with more forecast.

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President Yoon Seok Yeol on Tuesday visited a semi-basement apartment where three family members died the night before after flash floods filled the place.

The dangers of these underground apartments, called Panjia, were depicted in a flood scene in the Oscar-winning 2020 movie “Parasite.”

Yoon told residents of the area that he would try to ensure their lives return to normal as soon as possible, and instructed officials to consider measures to better ensure housing safety, according to a statement from his office.

At least five people had died in Seoul and three others in neighboring Gyeonggi Province by early Tuesday, the Central Disaster Control and Safety Measures Headquarters said.

It added that four, including three family members, died after they drowned in flooded buildings, one is believed to have been electrocuted, another was found under the wreckage of a bus stop, and the other two died in a landslide.

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At least nine people were wounded, while seven were missing.

In the dense, quaint Gangnam district, some buildings and shops were inundated and power cut off, while cars, buses and subway stations were inundated, leaving people stranded.

Lim Na-kyung, a 31-year-old office worker, recounted her concerns Monday night, saying the situation reminded her of a scene from the 1997 movie “Titanic.”

“I had to keep going up because the building was sinking at such a rapid pace…I couldn’t believe I was trapped in a building with 40 other people in the middle of Gangnam,” said the mother of two. who eventually had to spend the night at the Pilates center on the fourth floor.

The data showed that at least 765 facilities were damaged. About 52 motorways and roads were closed.

About 391 people were displaced in the greater Seoul area, most of whom had to stay in local schools and gyms. According to the data, another 399 have temporarily moved to community centers and schools.

Headquarters raised its crisis alert status to the highest levels and asked organizations to adjust their working hours.

The Kosovo Financial Agency issued warnings of heavy rains across the capital and the metropolitan area of ​​26 million people, as well as parts of Gangwon and Chungcheong provinces.

KMA expects heavy rain to continue in the central part of the country until at least Wednesday.

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While South Korea often experiences torrential rains in summer, “this sharp increase in rainfall and frequent torrential rains cannot be explained without the significant trend of climate change,” a North Korean agency official, who requested anonymity, told Reuters. “This phenomenon is seen more often because of climate change that has prolonged summer.”

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(Reporting by Juri Roh and Minwoo Park). Additional reporting by Josh Smith. Editing by Lincoln Fest and Jerry Doyle

Our criteria: Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.