Heaviest rain in South Korea for 37 years

Posted by bex — 19 July 2001 at 8:00am - Comments
Climate change: English country floods

Climate change: English country floods

The death toll in South Korea from the heaviest rain in 37 years rose to 40 on Monday as rescue workers sifted through the wreckage left by the downpour. The rain, which was most severe in the area of the capital, Seoul, followed months of unprecedented drought and triggered floods and landslides.

Disaster relief officials said 40 people were reported dead and 14 were missing after more than 300 mm (12 inches) of rain fell in two days. Most of the victims were electrocuted by downed hydro poles, while some drowned in their homes or were killed when their houses collapsed under landslides. About 1,300 people were evacuated from flooded homes and hundreds were moved from campsites along swollen rivers and the seashore, the National Disaster Prevention and Countermeasures Headquarters said. More than 30,000 houses in the capital and surrounding areas were flooded, officials said. Almost 3,000 soldiers were helping in the hunt for the missing and to clear away fallen trees and hydro poles and vehicles washed away in the storm.

Thousands of government workers and police were also called out to help as people dug out their homes and offices flooded with water and mud. A bridge across Seoul's Han River reopened on Monday after flood waters topped the roadway on Sunday. Subways, highways and roads across the capital were also flooded. The Agriculture and Forestry Ministry reported almost 1,600 hectares flooded.
The rains hit South Korea after its worst drought on record, during which more than 100,000 soldiers were deployed to provide emergency water supplies to farms and to help transplant rice seedlings. From March to June, South Korea had just 30 percent of the its normal rainfall during the crucial spring planting season, the meteorological agency said.

Source: Reuters


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