Seoul rain leaves at least 8 dead
SK president calls for all-out efforts to minimize damage
Published: Aug 09, 2022 08:44 PM
People walk on a damaged road near a subway station in Seoul, South Korea, on August 9, 2022. Photo: VCG

People walk on a damaged road near a subway station in Seoul, South Korea, on August 9, 2022. Photo: VCG

At least eight people died in Seoul overnight, South Korean authorities said Tuesday, after torrential rain knocked out power, caused landslides and left roads and subways submerged.

One of the victims was a Chinese citizen who was killed in a landslide in the city of Hwaseong in Gyeonggi Province at around 4:23 am Tuesday, according to the Chinese Embassy in South Korea.

The southern part of the South Korean capital received more than 100 millimeters of rain per hour on late Monday, with some parts of the city hit with 141.5 millimeters, the heaviest rainfall in decades, according to Korea Meteorological Administration (KMA).

The accumulated rainfall in Seoul since midnight Monday stood at 451 millimeters as of 2 pm Tuesday, with more forecast.

President Yoon Suk-yeol on Tuesday visited a semibasement apartment where three family members had died the night before after swift moving flood waters filled the space.

The dangers of such underground flats, called banjiha, were famously depicted in a flooding scene in the 2020 ­Oscar-winning film Parasite.

Yoon told the area's residents he would try to ensure their lives return to normal as quickly as possible, and he instructed officials to look at measures to better ensure housing safety, and to make all-out efforts to minimize damage.

At least five people had died in Seoul and three others in the neighboring Gyeonggi Province by early Tuesday.

Four, including the three family members, had died after being drowned in flooded buildings, one was believed to have been electrocuted, another person was found under the wreckage of a bus stop, and the other two died in a landslide, it said.

At least nine people were injured, while seven were missing.

In the glitzy, dense Gangnam District, some buildings and stores were flooded and were without power, while cars, buses and subway stations were submerged, leaving people stranded.

Lim Na-kyung, a 31-year-old office worker, recounted her fears of Monday evening, saying the situation reminded her of a scene from the 1997 film Titanic.

"I had to keep going higher and higher because the building was submerging at a fast pace ... I couldn't believe that I was trapped in building with 40 other people in the middle of Gangnam District," said the mother of two, who eventually had to spend the night at a Pilates center on the fourth floor.

Data showed at least 765 facilities had been damaged. About 52 highways and roads have been blocked.

About 391 people were displaced in the greater Seoul area, most of whom had to stay at ­local schools and gyms. A further 399 had temporarily moved to community centers and schools, according to the data.

The headquarters raised the crisis alert to the highest and requested organizations adjust their working hours.