Torrential rains leave 7 dead, 3 missing, thousands evacuated

Photo: Yonhap
SEOUL. KAZINFORM Heavy rains have killed at least seven people and caused thousands to evacuate their homes across the country, authorities said Saturday.

The Central Disaster and Safety Countermeasure Headquarters said three people remained missing and seven others were injured, Yonhap reports.

Two people died in a building collapse triggered by a landslide in Nonsan, South Chungcheong Province, on Friday.

One person was killed in a mudslide in the central city of Sejong and housing collapses killed three people in the southeastern county of Yeongju and the central county of Cheongyang.

In the central city of Cheongju, a car was struck by a landslide, killing one person.

The casualties are feared to rise as government agencies assess damage reported across the nation.

Two people, including a woman in her 60s, are feared to have been killed when a landslide destroyed a home in Bonghwa, North Gyeongsang Province, at around 9 a.m.

Some 6,400 residents in the central county of Goesan were evacuated, as the Goesan Dam began to overflow at around 6:30 a.m. Many low-lying villages near the dam were submerged, and roads and bridges connecting the villages were cut off, trapping some residents in their homes.

A total of 1,567 people from 1,002 households in 13 cities and counties had sought temporary shelters as of Saturday morning, as heavy downpours continued to fall across the country. Among them, 1,114 people could not return home due to safety concerns.

In the central city of Gongju, residents were ordered to evacuate at 9:57 a.m. as an apartment complex was flooded.

A train derailed in Cheongju at 10:58 p.m. Friday as significant rainfall triggered a mudslide. An engine driver sustained light injuries and was taken to a hospital. No other casualties were reported.

Thirty-one cases of damage to public property were reported, including 10 mudslides and six cases where roads were destroyed, while 71 cases of damage to private property were reported, including 22 flooded homes.

Electricity blackouts were reported in 13 cities and counties nationwide. While power has been restored in most places, more than 8,300 households in Mungyeong, Yeongju and Yecheon in North Gyeongsang Province still don't have electricity.

Floods swept away crops and roads. Nationwide, 97 roads remain closed, while 384 trails in 19 national parks are closed.

The Korea Railroad Corp. (KORAIL) suspended all regular trains and some KTX bullet trains that run through the country's central inland region due to heavy rains. KORAIL also warned of slower service in routes connecting Seoul to the country's southern parts, including Busan and Jeolla Province.

The Korea Meteorological Administration issued heavy rain warnings for southern Gyeonggi Province, Chungcheong Province, southern Gangwon Province, North Jeolla Province and western parts of South Jeolla Province, among others.

Iksan in North Jeolla Province has received 434.5 millimeters of rainfall since Thursday, and nearby Gunsan has received 426 mm.

On Thursday, the Ministry of Public Administration and Security raised the natural disaster level posed by torrential rains to the highest in the three-tier system.

Prime Minister Han Duck-soo on Saturday ordered officials to swiftly evacuate people in landslide-prone regions to minimize casualties, and do their utmost to rescue people in affected areas.

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