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Death toll rises to 30 from days of heavy rains

(Yonhap)
(Yonhap)

Casualties from days of torrential rain stood at 30 people dead, eight injured and 12 missing as of 6 a.m. Sunday, authorities said.

The unusually long and intense downpour, which started Aug.1, triggered floods, landslides and evacuations, submerging or burying homes, crops and roads.

The nation’s forestry authority has issued the highest level of landslide warning for the entire country, except the southern Jeju Island. Flood warnings were also issued for vulnerable areas near rivers and streams.

From the start of Friday to 9 a.m. Sunday, all regions except Jeju were hit with as much as 612 millimeters of rain, according to the Korea Meteorological Administration.

The rain battered capital Seoul, Gyeonggi and Gangwon and Chungcheong provinces earlier last week and then moved to Jeolla provinces on Friday and Saturday.

The weather agency said the rain would continue for the time being as more rain clouds are approaching from the west. Typhoon Jangmi, the fifth this season, was moving north from the southwest of Okinawa, Japan, and is expected to make an impact on Jeju and southern Gyeongsang provinces from Monday.

According to the Central Disaster and Safety Countermeasure Headquarters, Sunday morning’s death count rose by two from a day earlier as two men were found dead after a landslide in Jangsu, North Jeolla Province. The number of missing rose one from Saturday after a man in 70s was swept under a stream in Damyang, South Jeolla Province.

Close to 6,000 people from 3,489 households were forced to evacuate, and 4,617 people have yet to return to their homes. From the Seomjin River flooding in South Jeolla province, 3,749 people from 2,205 households stayed at schools, community centers and gymnasiums Saturday night.

Property damage also continued. A total of 9,491 incidents have been reported, with 4,234 concerning private property. The downpour also flooded 9,317 hectares of farmland while bombarding 2,572 residential buildings and 1,344 barns and storage facilities.

A total of 118 roads and passes have been restricted to traffic, with some trains suspended. Ten flights have also been canceled as the runway at the Gwangju Airport, and 523 tracks at 20 national parks have been barred from access.

Emergency recovery work on the damaged properties and roads is around three-quarters complete, the central disaster response team said.

By Ko Jun-tae (ko.juntae@heraldcorp.com)
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