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Military searching for landmines possibly swept from N. Korea by heavy rains

All News 11:35 August 07, 2020

SEOUL, Aug. 7 (Yonhap) -- The military is trying to detect and remove landmines in border regions that could have been washed away across the border from North Korea due to heavy rains, the defense ministry said Friday.

Front-line military units launched the work earlier in the day amid concerns the mines could have made their way south due to swollen water levels following heavy precipitation since last week, according to the ministry.

Millions of landmines are believed to have been laid on the Korean Peninsula during the 1950-53 Korean War, particularly in the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) that bisects the two Koreas.

"Wooden-boxed landmines from the North do not look like explosives on the surface, so we've been doing this work preemptively to find the mines for the safety of the people and service members," a ministry official said.

The ministry also heightened the level of emergency duty by one notch to the third and the highest one as of 8 a.m. to be fully prepared for heavy downpours, according to the officials.

To help civilians recover from damage, around 2,600 troops and 120 military equipment are mobilized as of now, they added.

Torrential rains that have pounded South Korea's central areas killed 10 people and left 17 others unaccounted for, according to the disaster headquarters.

Soldiers remove mud from a greenhouse as they carry out restoration work in the city of Anseong, south of Seoul, following heavy rains in the region, on Aug. 5, 2020. (Yonhap)

graceoh@yna.co.kr
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