Heavy rains soaked South Korea’s capital region, turning the streets of Seoul’s affluent Gangnam district into a river, leaving vehicles submerged and overwhelmed public transportation systems. At least seven people were killed and six others were missing.
Commuters slowly returned to work Tuesday morning after emergency crews worked overnight to clean up much of the chaos. However, there were concerns of further damage as torrential rain was forecast for the second day in a row.
While most subway services in the Seoul metropolitan area returned to normal, around 80 streets and dozens of riverside parking lots remained closed for safety reasons.
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President Yoon Suk Yeol had urged public employers and private companies to adjust their commute times and urged aggressive action to restore damaged facilities and evacuate people in at-risk areas to prevent more deaths.
The rain started on Monday morning and intensified in the evening hours. Nearly 800 buildings in Seoul and nearby cities were damaged, while more than 400 people were forced to flee their homes, the Ministry of Interior and Security said.
People waded through waist-deep water in the streets near Gangnam subway station, one of Seoul’s busiest business and leisure districts, where passenger cars, taxis and buses were bogged down in the muddy brown water Monday night. Commuters were evacuated as water cascaded down the stairs at Isu subway station. In the nearby town of Seongnam, a rain-weakened hillside collapsed into a varsity soccer field.
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Rescuers were unable to reach three people who called for help before drowning in a basement home in south Seoul’s Gwanak district Monday night. Another woman drowned at her home in nearby Dongjak district, where a public worker died while clearing fallen trees, likely from electrocution. Choi Seon-yeong, an official with the Dongjak District Municipal Office, said it was not immediately clear whether the water was electrified because of a damaged power source or equipment the man was using.
Two people were found dead in the rubble of a collapsed bus station and a landslide in the nearby city of Gwangju.
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The country’s weather agency on Tuesday maintained a heavy rain warning for the Seoul metropolitan area and surrounding regions, saying rainfall could reach 5 to 10 centimeters per hour (2 to 4 inches) in some areas.
More than 42 centimeters (16.5 inches) of rain was measured in Seoul’s hardest-hit Dongjak district as of 9 a.m. Monday through Tuesday. Hourly precipitation in that area topped 14 centimeters (5.5 inches) at one point Monday night, making it the highest hourly downpour recorded in Seoul since 1942.
Rainstorms also hit North Korea, where authorities issued heavy rain warnings for the southern and western parts of the country. The north’s official newspaper, Rodong Sinmun, described the rain as potentially “catastrophic” and called for measures to protect farmland and prevent flooding on the Taedong River, which flows through the capital Pyongyang.
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https://globalnews.ca/news/9046397/heavy-rains-flood-south-korea/ Heavy rains flood South Korea, leaving at least 7 dead and 6 missing – National