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(LEAD) Flooding in Daejeon kills two, damages hundreds of homes and cars

All News 22:46 July 30, 2020

(ATTN: RECASTS headline, lead; UPDATES with more details on damage, Daejeon and Busan deaths in paras 8-9, 13-16)

DAEJEON, July 30 (Yonhap) -- Nearly 200 millimeters of rain battered Daejeon and neighboring areas in central South Korea on Thursday, leaving two people dead and hundreds of homes and cars submerged.

According to the Korea Meteorological Administration (KMA), 197 mm of rain fell in Daejeon, 150 kilometers south of Seoul, from 6 p.m. Wednesday to 11 a.m. Thursday, followed by 150.5 mm in Geumsan, 144 mm in Gyerong, 142 mm in Nonsan, 118 mm in Cheonan and 111.5 mm in Sejong.

The KMA lifted a heavy rain warning for Daejeon and all neighboring areas, except Geumsan, as of 11:20 a.m. but asked regional residents to brace for up to 200 mm of additional rain until early Friday morning.

Notably, Daejeon was pummeled by extraordinarily heavy downpours early Thursday morning, as 102.5 mm of rain fell in just one hour from 4:18 a.m., it noted.

Firefighters rescue residents of an apartment in Daejeon, central South Korea, stranded by heavy downpours and subsequent flooding, on July 30, 2020. (Yonhap)

The compound of the KMA's Daejeon branch, the city's official location for measuring precipitation, received 46.1 mm of rain for one hour from 3:59 a.m., the fourth-largest amount on record after 79.1 mm in 1969, 63.5 mm in 1987 and 53.8 mm in 2000.

A Daejeon citizen living in an apartment complex in Seo Ward died of a heart attack after parts of the complex were inundated, they said, adding that firefighters rescued about 80 residents from the apartment complex by boat.

Another resident of Daejeon's Seo Ward was electrocuted while pumping water out of a flooded indoor golf facility.

Emergency services said a man in his 70s was found dead in a submerged underpass in Dong Ward, where water levels may have risen suddenly. City authorities had closed off the underpass as a precaution, but there may not have been anyone posted to prevent people from using the passage.

The municipality of Daejeon said 28 apartments, 85 detached houses and 55 cars have so far been reported flooded by the downpours. The operation of the Daejeon Vehicle Registration Office in the city's Jung Ward was also suspended due to flooding.

Firefighters rescue residents of an apartment in Daejeon, central South Korea, stranded by heavy downpours and subsequent flooding, on July 30, 2020. (Yonhap)

Trains passing the Daejeon area were also delayed for up to an hour, as the tracks were flooded or covered with sandy soil.

The government of South Chungcheong Province, which surrounds Daejeon, said it has received 118 reports of flood damage, including fallen street trees and inundation of greenhouses.

In Cheonan, 90 km south of Seoul, nine residential and commercial buildings were flooded and three motorists were rescued from their submerged vehicles.

Related to damage and loss of life caused by heavy rains across the country, police in the port city of Busan and the National Institute of Scientific Investigation said earlier in the day that they have carried out a search of the headquarters of the city's fire department and collected information.

The move comes as three people lost their lives when an underpass became flooded and allegations emerged of poor response. Two firemen have already been questioned in regard to their response to the situation.

Police said they will check if the emergency service personnel did not respond quickly to calls and failed to take action that could have saved lives.

Investigators said that based on evidence collected, charges could be brought against those responsible.


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