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(3rd LD) One dead as Typhoon Sanba slams southern S. Korea

All Headlines 17:27 September 17, 2012

(ATTN: RECASTS lead; UPDATES with latest forecast, further damage in paras 4, 6-7)

SEOUL, Sept. 17 (Yonhap) -- A powerful typhoon accompanied by heavy downpours and strong winds pounded South Korea's southern regions on Monday, killing one, injuring two and forcing more than a thousand residents to evacuate, officials said.

Typhoon Sanba, the fourth tropical storm to hit the Korean Peninsula this year, also caused landslides, flooding, power outages, passenger services suspensions and other gale-related damage, mostly in the Gyeongsang provinces surrounding the southern port city of Busan.

It is the first time in 50 years that the peninsula has been drenched by four typhoons in a single year.

Packing strong winds of 31 meters per second and heavy rains, Typhoon Sanba was moving northward at a speed of 41 kilometers per hour as of 4 p.m. from near the southern city of Daegu, after battering the southwest coastal areas Monday morning, according to the Korean Meteorological Administration (KMA). It forecast the typhoon would veer out to the East Sea late in the day after passing through South Korea's mainland.

Most of the southern regions received more than 200 millimeters of rain during the day, with the southern coastal city of Namhae receiving 214 mm so far, according to weather officials, noting that some regions in southern and central South Korea will get up to 200 mm of additional precipitation by midnight.

Heavy rains and strong gusts accompanying the powerful storms devastated the southern regions. In North Gyeongsang province, a landslide caused a house to collapse, killing a 53-year-old woman. Two people were injured due to a separate landslide and the subsequent collapse of a building, according to the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA).

Across the country, a total of 1,187 people were forced to evacuate, and 382,316 households experienced power outages, with 14 percent of them still without electricity as of 2 p.m., the NEMA said.

The authorities canceled 213 domestic and 52 international flights in the country's major airports including Incheon, a gateway to Seoul, and suspended 168 ferry services across the country, the land ministry said.

The authorities issued typhoon advisories for most parts of the country including Seoul, where wind speeds up to 30 meters per second and 150 mm of rain are expected.

Major dams such as Paldang, Chungju and Namgang throughout the country discharged water to control their water levels and national parks and other areas considered dangerous in such a storm were declared off-limits as a precautionary measure.

The government has ordered schools in southern and central regions including Busan and Daegu, to be closed for the day, and allowed students in Seoul and its surrounding Gyeonggi areas to go home early, the officials said.

During a meeting with senior secretaries, President Lee Myung-bak said the government should put in every possible resource to help minimize damage and recover early from the typhoon's aftermath, according to his spokesman, Park Jeong-ha.

"The typhoon is expected to pass through the inland past farming regions. We have to make thorough preparations to minimize damage to farm produce ahead of Chuseok," Lee said, according to Park. "Military and all other available resources should be put in for preparation and recovery efforts."

Chuseok, considered the Korean equivalent of Thanksgiving Day, is one of Korea's biggest traditional holidays, along with Lunar New Year's Day. This year's Chuseok falls on Sept. 30.


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