Downpours trigger landslide, cut off power, leave 1 dead in southern parts of Korea

SEOUL-- Heavy rains that hit the southern parts of the country overnight flooded houses and farmland, and disrupted the power supply and train services, leaving one dead and forcing 120 people to evacuate, authorities said Tuesday.

The Central Disaster and Safety Countermeasures Headquarters said the downpour swept away a woman, in her 60s, in the southwestern county of Haenam early in the morning. The authorities said she was found dead from drowning.

In the nearby counties of Gangjin and Jindo, 47 people temporarily sought shelter in community centers and gymnasiums. In the region, eight houses and 35 shops were under water and mud, and more than 7,500 hectares of farmland were submerged.

In Gwangyang, also in South Jeolla Province, a landslide washed away two houses and destroyed another two. A rescue operation is under way for a resident in her 80s who is trapped under the rubble. The woman was reached through a phone call, the city said, but her condition remained unclear. The city had recorded 201.5 millimeters of rain as of 7 a.m., and the heavy downpour has impeded swift rescue efforts.

Heavy rains destroyed roads in Goheung, South Jeolla Province, and knocked down trees in Daegu and some parts of North Chungcheong Province, disrupting traffic.

A total of 12 roads were closed for public safety in South Jeolla Province, Busan and Gwangju, as torrential rains could potentially trigger landslides and flooding.

The downpour disrupted all train services that use the Suncheon and Gwangju-Songjeong route, but operations will resume in the afternoon, authorities said.

Forty ferries on 24 routes, including the one running between Yeosu and Geomun, as well as 11 flights departing from Gimpo, Ulsan and Yeosu were grounded.

In the region, 287 trekking courses in 10 national parks were closed out of safety concerns.

In Busan, 128 houses lost power temporarily but regained it.

The headquarters raised its internal alert level by one notch at 4 a.m. Tuesday, as some of the southwestern parts had received more than 300 mm of rainfall and were expected to be hit with more rain.

The weather agency forecast more rain to continue in the region and the southern resort island of Jeju on Tuesday, with some areas expected to receive around 50 mm to more than 200 mm per hour. It urged caution and asked people to stay away from dangerous areas prone to landslides and flooding.

Source: Yonhap News Agency