The heaviest rainfall in 80 years flooded homes and the subway system, triggered landslides and caused power outages around the capital.
At least seven people have died and six are missing in and around the South Korean capital, Seoul, after torrential rains disrupted power, triggered landslides and flooded homes and the city’s subway system.
More than 100 millimeters (3.9 inches) of rain fell in southern Seoul late Monday, with parts of the city receiving 141.5 millimeters (5.7 inches) per hour, according to the Korea Meteorological Agency (KMA). .
The Yonhap news agency said the downpour was the heaviest in 80 years.
At least five people were dead in Seoul and two in nearby Geyonggi province as of early Tuesday, the Central Disaster and Safety Countermeasures Headquarters said.
Three of the victims were people who lived in Bong Joon-ho’s cramped basement apartment described in Bong Joon-ho’s Oscar-winning Parasite.
Yonhap news agency said the trio included a teen whose family reported they were trapped in the basement of their home on Monday night. They were later found dead.
More sad news surfaced. They had reported the flooding of their house the day before. The family was already dead when rescuers arrived. One of the victims had Down syndrome.
Always the most vulnerable communities are affected.https://t.co/Wdlrh6w6zh
— Rafael Rashid (@koryodynasty) August 9, 2022
In Seoul, a fourth person also died after being trapped in a flooded building, while another is believed to have been electrocuted while trying to clear a fallen tree by the side of the road, disaster officials said.
In Gwangju, Geyonggi province, one person was found under the wreckage of a collapsed bus stop, while another died after being buried by a landslide.
At least nine people were injured and six are missing.
In Seoul’s bustling Gangnam district on Tuesday, some buildings and shops were flooded, power was cut, cars, buses and subway stations were flooded and people were trapped.
“When I was near Gangnam Station last night, the rain got heavier, and there was lightning every 30 seconds,” said Lee Dongha, a 27-year-old commuter in Seoul.
“Suddenly the bus, the subway station and the street were flooded and that’s when I quickly decided to book accommodation because I didn’t want to be stuck with nowhere to go.”
On Tuesday morning, President Yoon Sye-yeol ordered government officials to evacuate residents from high-risk areas and encouraged businesses to allow employees to commute flexibly.
“Nothing is more precious than life and safety. The government will deal with the heavy rain situation thoroughly,” he wrote on Facebook.
The Interior Ministry raised the flood alert level to “severe” on Tuesday, while the South Korean Forest Service issued landslide warnings in 46 cities and counties across the country, including nine in Seoul, Yonhap News Agency reported.
Meanwhile, the KMA issued a heavy rain warning on Tuesday for the Seoul metropolitan area of 26 million people, and said precipitation in some areas could reach 50 to 100 millimeters (2 to 4 inches) per hour.
It said heavy rains in the central part of the country were expected to continue until at least Wednesday.
While South Korea often experiences heavy rains in summer, “the sharp increase in precipitation and frequent heavy rains cannot be explained without the general trend of climate change,” a KMA official told Reuters on condition of anonymity.
“This phenomenon occurs frequently due to prolonged summers due to climate change.”