The death toll from flooding caused by the heaviest rains to hit northern South Korea in 80 years has risen to 14 and six are still missing, local authorities said today (12).
Search services found the bodies of two residents of the capital Seoul in a sewer on Thursday, South Korea’s Yonhap News Agency reported.
The floods have so far left eight dead in Seoul, three in the rest of western Gyeonggi Province and another three in eastern Gangwon Province. Six people are missing in the capital.
More than 6,000 people and nearly 3,000 families had to be evacuated from their homes in 46 towns and villages, including the capital. Many live in subsoil flooded by rain.
Half of the people who died in the last few days lived in this type of housing. There are about 200,000 basement apartments in Seoul, housing 5% of all families in the capital, Yonhap reported.
According to the agency, the capital’s authorities have announced that they will ask the government to review the city’s building code to ban the use of basements for housing.
Seoul will also give building owners a 20year grace period to convert these sites to nonresidential uses such as warehouses or parking lots, and will assist the population in moving to public housing.
Parts of Seoul as well as the port city of Inchon and Gyeonggi province saw heavy rains of more than 100 millimeters for several hours on Tuesday.
In Seoul’s Dongjak district, rainfall exceeded 140 millimeters (mm) for an hour. Heaviest rain recorded in 60 minutes since 1942.
According to Yonhap, the heavy rains caused flooding of homes, vehicles, buildings and subway stations.
The rains also hit North Korea, where authorities have issued warnings for the south and west of the country, state television KCTV reported on Tuesday.
The official Rodong Sinmun newspaper described the heavy rains as potentially “catastrophic” and called for measures to protect farmland and prevent flooding from the Taedong River, which flows through the capital Pyongyang.
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