South Korea Death Toll from Torrential Rain Reaches 49
Chika Mori and Sawako Utsumi
Modern Tokyo Times
The death toll from on and off torrential downpours in South Korea is believed to be 49. This total includes a few people who are missing but presumed dead.
In the city of Cheongju, the Osong underground roadway system was flooded.
One tragic event left 13 people dead after a bus became submerged. Several people were initially found dead inside the bus. Other bodies have since been found – including the bus driver.
Ban Ki-Seong, a meteorologist, said: “When you look at big cities with weather stations such as Gwangju and Busan [in the central and southern regions], precipitation has nearly doubled.”
He continued, “Rainfall averages for the entire monsoon season have already been eclipsed.”
The worst-hit areas of South Korea concern the central mountainous parts of the country.
Hundreds of roads and other aspects of the infrastructure have been damaged. While farmland in areas hit by the floods has suffered – and over half a million animals have perished.
Yonhap News Agency reports, “Nationwide, 40 people, including 19 in the southeastern province of North Gyeongsang, have been reported to have been killed in the aftermath of the heavy rains that have pounded the country since last week as of 6 p.m., according to the Central Disaster and Safety Countermeasure Headquarters.”
The BBC reports, “Some 6,400 residents were evacuated early Saturday after the Goesan Dam in North Chungcheong began to overflow.”
Lee Jay Walker says, “Typhoon Thelma in 1987 killed 123 people – with a further 212 people deemed missing. Hence, flooding in South Korea and the deaths from heavy downpours is nothing new.”
It is hoped that emergency services and the military can reach people deemed missing – and provide needed assistance to isolated communities.
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