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(2nd LD) Heavy rain pummels central S. Korea; casualties reported in landslides

National 17:27 August 03, 2020

(ATTN: RECASTS headline; UPDATES with details throughout, photos)

SEOUL, Aug. 3 (Yonhap) -- Heavy rain continued to pound South Korea's central regions and the greater Seoul area Monday, flooding houses and roads, and prompting authorities to close riverside and mountainous areas.

More than 100 millimeters of rain per hour soaked Chuncheon in mountainous Gangwon Province and heavy rain of 80 mm hit parts of Gyeonggi Province, which surrounds Seoul.

Heavy rain advisories had been issued for the greater Seoul area, as well as Sejong, North and South Chungcheong Provinces and Gangwon and North Gyeongsang Provinces as of 2 p.m. Up to 90 mm of rain continued to fall in northern areas of Chungcheong.

In Pyeongtaek, south of Seoul, a landslide swept over a temporary building in a semiconductor parts factory, killing three workers in their 30s and injuring one in his 50s. Two other workers managed to escape.

The workers were reportedly working in a makeshift building made of panels. Fire authorities said it took them nearly one hour to locate the victims as soil piled up several meters high.

This photo shows a semiconductor parts factory in Pyeongtaek, Gyeonggi Province, where three workers died and one was seriously injured due to a mudslide triggered by torrential rain on Aug. 3, 2020. (Yonhap)
This photo shows a house in Chungju, North Chungcheong Province, which was destroyed by a gas explosion prompted by a landslide on Aug. 2, 2020. (Yonhap)

In Gapyeong, also in Gyeonggi Province, the gas and water supply was temporarily suspended to restore pipes that have been exposed due to heavy rain.

Four people, including a child, were reported missing after a mudslide engulfed an accommodation in the Gyeonggi county. Fire authorities recovered an unidentified female body at the search site.

A person was swept up in a mountain stream in Gapyeong, according to a report.

This photo, provided by fire authorities in northern Gyeonggi Province, shows an accomodation engulfed by a landslide in Gapyeong, Gyeonggi Province on Aug. 3, 2020. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)

The rain was estimated to have damaged 112 houses and 1,043 hectares of land in the province. Seventy cases of landslides were reported.

In Seoul, a hole measuring 2 meters in width and 1.5 meters in depth appeared at a road in the southern area of Gangnam. Authorities are restoring the road. No casualties were reported.

Elsewhere in Seoul, authorities helped pump out water from flooded houses and remove trees that had been toppled by the heavy rain.

Entry to most of the 11 parks along the Han River has been banned as water levels spiked and swamped the areas. Entrance to streams and mountains are also being restricted to prevent accidents.

Entry to parts of Olympic Expressway, a key highway that connects southern Seoul with Gyeonggi Province, was also banned as water levels quickly rose.

Most areas of a park by Han River in Seoul are under water following heavy rain across South Korea on Aug. 3, 2020. (Yonhap)
Parts of a road and a riverside park next to Olympic Expressway in southern Seoul are swamped due to heavy rain on Aug. 3, 2020. (Yonhap)
Olympic Expressway (L), a highway that connects southern Seoul with nearby Gyeonggi Province, is empty on Aug. 3, 2020, as entry was banned amid heavy rain. (Yonhap)

Similar damage was reported in the city of Incheon and the provinces of North Jeolla and South Chungcheong.

Areas in Cheonan, South Chungcheong Province, were swamped as 50-80 mm of rain hit the area. Rain swelled up to knee-level in a traditional market and covered car rooftops on some roads.

Passengers leave their cars after heavy rain swamped areas of Cheonan, South Chungcheong Province on Aug. 3, 2020. (Yonhap)

Meanwhile, most train services that had been suspended due to mudslides resumed earlier Monday. However, trains connecting Chungju and Jecheon, both in North Chungcheong Province, and Youngju and Donghae in the eastern region remained disrupted. The Taebaek line also remained suspended.

The central disaster agency said that six have died and eight have gone missing due to the heavy rain as of Monday morning. At least 190 houses were damaged, forcing 818 people to leave them. More than 1,500 people left the area.

President Moon Jae-in has called off his scheduled summer holiday amid growing damage from torrential rain, according to the presidential office Cheong Wa Dae.

Moon was briefed on the extent of damage caused by heavy rain nationwide and expressed concerns over people's safety, presidential deputy spokesperson Yoon Jae-kwan said in a briefing.

A destroyed cattle shed in Chungju, North Chungcheong Province, is seen after heavy rain on Aug. 2, 2020. (Yonhap)
This photo, provided by fire authorities at North Chungcheong Province, shows rescue workers conducting a search near Eumseong after a 62-year-old was reported to have gone missing at a stream on Aug. 2, 2020. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)
Chuncheon Dam, in Chuncheon, Gangwon Province, is in full action, releasing 2,370 tons of waters per second on Aug. 3, 2020, after heavy rain hit the area. (Yonhap)

mlee@yna.co.kr
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