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(LEAD) Downpours continue to grip S. Korea

All News 14:12 August 05, 2020

(ATTN: ADDS details, photos throughout)

SEOUL, Aug. 5 (Yonhap) -- Damage from the heavy rain that has pounded South Korea's metropolitan and central regions continued to grow on Wednesday, with the precipitation forecast to continue next week.

The downpours have killed 15 and left 11 missing as of 6 a.m., according to the Central Disaster and Safety Countermeasure Headquarters. Nearly 1,600 were forced to leave their homes, with two-thirds of them based in the provinces of South and North Chungcheong.

Reports of damaged properties continued to rise, with damage reported at 4,281 private and public facilities across the country. Some 1,300 houses were submerged or buried, while damage was also reported at 705 warehouses and cattle sheds.

In addition to buildings, 936 roads and bridges also suffered damage from the heavy rain. A total of 277 landslides were reported, and essential facilities such as waterworks, sewage and railways were also affected.

Damage was also reported at a combined 6,128 hectares of agricultural land, and 300,000 cattle were killed, according to the ministry of agriculture.

Cows are seen at a flooded cattle shed in Cheonan, South Chungcheong Province, on Aug. 4, 2020. (Yonhap)
Restoration efforts are under way in Icheon, Gyeonggi Province, on Aug. 5, 2020. (Yonhap)

To restore damaged facilities and help evacuees, the government has mobilized more than 48,800 rescue and volunteer workers as well as nearly 5,800 pieces of heavy equipment, such as excavators and water pumps.

While around 55 percent of damaged facilities have been temporarily restored, 37 roads, including Jamsu Bridge, which connects the southern and northern parts of the Han River in Seoul, remained closed. Six rail routes -- including Chungbuk, Taebaek and Yeongdong -- were partially or completely restricted.

Entry bans remained in place at 251 trekking routes at nine national parks as well as 16 underpasses and 93 parking lots adjacent to streams and rivers to prevent accidents.

To prevent flooding, major dams across the country began to discharge water as water levels quickly rose.

The Korea Water Resources Corp. was set to start releasing water from Soyang River Dam in Gangwon Province at 3 p.m. for the first time in three years.

The plan is expected to further drive up water levels at the Han River. The dam, built in 1973, has released water 14 times. The last time it operated was in August 2017.

This file photo, taken on Aug. 25, 2017, shows Soyang River Dam in Gangwon Province releasing water. (Yonhap)
This photo, provided by the Goseong county office in Gangwon Province on Aug. 5, 2020, shows a road that flooded after heavy rain. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)

Earlier in the day, Prime Minister Chung Sye-kyun ordered the Ministry of Interior and Safety to swiftly review a proposal to declare Gyeonggi and Chungcheong provinces as special disaster zones.

Special disaster zones are designated upon requests by provincial governors. When a request is deemed reasonable by the interior ministry, it is then approved by the prime minister and the president.

A riverside park in Cheorwon, Gangwon Province, is submerged, in this photo provided by the Cheorwon county office on Aug. 4, 2020. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)


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