(ATTN: UPDATES with Yoon's remarks in paras 1-8; CHANGES headline)
By Lee Haye-ah
SEOUL, Aug. 9 (Yonhap) -- President Yoon Suk-yeol instructed officials Tuesday to make all-out efforts to minimize damage from the country's heaviest rainfall in 80 years, as seven people were reported dead and six others missing.
Yoon gave the order during an emergency meeting held in the disaster and safety situation room of the government complex in Seoul, a day after heavy rains pounded the capital and its surrounding areas while flooding homes, vehicles, buildings and subway stations.
"Efforts led by the interior ministry from an emergency readiness posture are under way to minimize the damage, but as the heavy rains have continued for several days, we should respond all-out with a sense of alertness," Yoon said.
Yoon called for establishing preemptive entry restrictions in areas prone to landslides and flooding and for swiftly communicating the measures to the public.
While acknowledging that natural disasters are unavoidable, he stressed there should be no loss of life from disasters caused by human error.
"As soon as the heavy rains are under control, we should conduct an accurate survey of the extent of the damage and promptly begin recovery and assistance," Yoon added, noting that the record rainfall is believed to be caused by the effects of climate change.
"The government must review the current disaster management system from square one, given that abnormal weather caused by climate change is becoming a part of everyday life," he said.
"We should respond all-out until the situation is over in order to protect the precious people's lives and properties and to take steps until the end, until the people feel that they are enough."
Yoon had been scheduled to travel to the central city of Sejong to preside over a Cabinet meeting there, but canceled the plan to oversee the emergency.
On Monday, he instructed local governments and the forestry and firefighting authorities to come up with measures to evacuate residents from high-risk areas and prevent loss of life.
He also ordered administrative and public agencies to delay the start of the working day Tuesday, given the time needed to restore public transit services amid the continued downpour.
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