Torrential rain, flooding in Seoul kill seven - RTHK
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Torrential rain, flooding in Seoul kill seven

2022-08-09 HKT 12:11
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  • Cars have been damaged by flood water after heavy rainfall in Seoul's Gangnam district. Photo: AFP
    Cars have been damaged by flood water after heavy rainfall in Seoul's Gangnam district. Photo: AFP
Subway stations and major roads were underwater in the South Korean capital Seoul after record-breaking rains caused severe flooding, with at least seven people dead and seven more missing, officials said on Tuesday.

Authorities warned of more rain to come even as emergency workers tried to clear the hulks of flooded cars, which were strewn across major intersections throughout the city.

Dramatic images shared on social media late on Monday showed people wading through waist-deep water, metro stations overflowing, and cars half-submerged in Seoul's posh Gangnam district, which was particularly hard-hit when torrential rain battered the city.

The downpour that began on Monday is the heaviest rainfall in South Korea in 80 years, according to Seoul's Yonhap News Agency.

"At least seven people died in the Seoul metropolitan area, while seven others are missing, due to heavy rain as of 7.30am," an official at Seoul's Interior ministry said.

Local reports said three people living in a banjiha – cramped basement flats of the kind made famous in Bong Joon-ho's Oscar-winning "Parasite" – including a teenager, died as their apartment was inundated by floodwaters.

RTHK’s Seoul correspondent Frank Smith said many banjiha residents were also left homeless.

“These [homes] are partially below the surface, something like 230 households have been flooded and left 400 people homeless,” he said.

“It got to the point where the president of South Korea actually visited one of these semi-basement homes where some people had died in and he’s calling on authorities, calling on emergency services to dial up their response to this crisis.”

Gangnam, a wealthy district in southern Seoul – which was featured in Psy's 2012 K-pop hit "Gangnam Style" – received 326.5mm of rainfall on Monday, data from the Korea Meteorological Administration showed.

Yonhap said the downpours were the heaviest recorded since 1942.

President Yoon Suk-yeol ordered government officials to evacuate residents from high-risk areas and encouraged businesses to allow employees flexible commuting hours on Tuesday morning.

"Record-breaking torrential downpours in the central region since yesterday have caused a lot of damage, including unfortunate casualties," Yoon said on Facebook Tuesday, adding the government would provide "prompt recovery and damage support". (Additional reporting by AFP)
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Last updated: 2022-08-09 HKT 17:40