The heaviest rainfall in 80 years submerged homes and the metro system, caused landslides and knocked out power around the capital.
At least seven people have died and six are missing in and around the South Korean capital, Seoul, after torrential rain knocked out power, triggered landslides, flooded homes and the city’s subway system .
According to the Korea Meteorological Administration (KMA), the southern region of Seoul was inundated with more than 100mm (3.9 inches) of rain late Monday, with rainfall in some parts of the city reaching 141.5mm (5.7 inches) an hour, according to the Korea Meteorological Administration (KMA).
Yonhap news agency said the downpour was the heaviest downpour in 80 years.
At least five people died in Seoul, while two were killed in nearby Geyonggi province early Tuesday, the central safety and disaster response headquarters said.
Three of the victims were people living in banjiha – the cramped basement apartment depicted in Bong Joon-ho’s Oscar-winning Parasite – in Seoul’s Gwanak district.
Yonhap news agency said three people including a teenager and his family reported they were trapped in their basement home on Monday night. They were later found dead.
More bad news surfaced. They reported that their house was flooded the day before. By the time the rescuers arrived, the family was already dead. One of the victims had down syndrome.
Always the most vulnerable communities.https://t.co/Wdlrh6w6zh
– Raphael Rashid (@koryodyosystem) August 9, 2022
Disaster officials said a fourth person also died in Seoul after being trapped in a flooded building, while another is believed to have been electrocuted as he tried to clear a fallen tree beside Street.
In the city of Gwangju in Geyonggi province, one person was found under the rubble of a collapsed bus stop while another died after being buried in a landslide.
At least nine people were injured, while six were missing.
In Seoul’s glitzy Gangnam district, several buildings and shops were flooded and without power on Tuesday, while cars, buses and subway stations were submerged, trapping people.
Lee Dongha, a 27-year-old office worker in Seoul, said, “I was near Gangnam Station last night when the rainfall was heavier, with thunder and lightning hitting every 30 seconds,” said Lee Dongha, a resident. 27-year-old office worker in Seoul said.
“Suddenly, the bus, the subway station and the street was flooded, and that was when I quickly decided to book a room because I didn’t want to be stuck, with nowhere else to go.”
President Yoon Suk-yeol ordered government officials to evacuate residents from high-risk areas and encouraged businesses to allow employees to work flexibly on Tuesday morning.
“Nothing is more precious than life and safety. The government will thoroughly manage the heavy rain situation,” he wrote on his Facebook account.
According to Yonhap, the Interior Ministry raised the flood warning level to “severe” on Tuesday, while the Korea Forest Service issued advice on landslides in 46 cities and counties across the country, including including nine districts in Seoul, according to Yonhap.
The KMA meanwhile maintained a heavy rain warning for the Seoul metropolitan area, home to 26 million people, on Tuesday and said rainfall could reach 50 to 100 mm an hour (2 to 4 inches) in some areas.
It said it expected heavy rainfall in the central part of the country to continue until at least Wednesday.
While South Korea often experiences heavy rains in the summer, “such a dramatic increase in rainfall and frequent torrential rains cannot be explained without the major trends of climate change,” said a KMA official, who asked not to be named. with Reuters news agency.
“This phenomenon is happening more often because climate change leads to an extended summer.”