Seoul floods: Record rain kills at least 9 in South Korea’s capital as buildings inundated and cars inundated

Seoul, South Korea

Heavy rain flooded homes, roads and subway stations in the South Korean capital Seoul this week, killing at least nine people, as forecasters warned of more rain.

Forecasters warned that torrential rain eased on Wednesday, although already inundated areas could see an additional 300 mm (11.8 inches) of rain through Thursday, which could lead to more flooding and mudslides.

South Korea’s Ministry of Interior and Safety said three of the dead were trapped in a submerged basement floor. The ministry said about 17 others were injured and at least seven were still missing.

On Tuesday, the Chinese Foreign Ministry confirmed the killing of two Chinese nationals. One died in a landslide in a dormitory in Hwaseong, south of Seoul, while the other was electrocuted during outdoor construction work during the storm.

More than 500 people have been evacuated since the torrential rains hit Seoul Monday night, and the ministry has provided tents, blankets and other relief items. Meanwhile, authorities launched cleaning and rescue services, with the fire department having rescued 145 people as of Wednesday.

About 2,800 buildings — including homes, shops, retaining walls and other parts of infrastructure — were damaged, although most were repaired as of Wednesday morning, according to the Department of Safety.

Abandoned cars fill a road in a flooded area during heavy rain in Seoul, South Korea, on August 8.

As of Tuesday night, parts of Seoul had seen up to 497 mm (19.6 in) of rain. At one point, the city recorded 141.5 millimeters (5.6 inches) of rain per hour — the highest rate since authorities began keeping records in 1907.

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Images from around the city during flash floods on Monday show people wading through roads up to their thighs into the water.

A vehicle sustained damage on the sidewalk after it got crunched in heavy rain in Seoul, South Korea on August 9.

In some parts of Seoul, drains have backed up and sent water to streets and subway stations, according to Seoul Metro. A number of stations were closed due to flooding, with lines temporarily suspended on Monday night.

Pictures after the wreckage showed debris strewn across the streets, shop owners trying to salvage their merchandise, crumbling parts of sidewalks and damaged vehicles swept away by floodwaters.

Debris piles up in front of flood-affected shops at Namsung Sagi Market in Seoul, South Korea, on August 10.

Several areas south of the Han River were hardest hit, including the wealthy modern Gangnam district, where some buildings and shops were inundated and electricity lost.

South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol He sent his condolences to the victims on Tuesday, saying he would conduct a field inspection and work to prevent additional damage.

He also noted the need to review the country’s disaster management system, as extreme weather is expected to become increasingly common due to the climate crisis.

Pedestrians cross a flooded road in Gimpo, Seoul, on August 9.

Several countries in East Asia are now seeing more intense daily rain, as the summer monsoons are expected to get stronger and more unpredictable as the Earth warms, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.

More rounds of heavy rain will continue into Thursday morning before ending Thursday afternoon, meteorologists told CNN.

Precipitation in Seoul averages 348 mm (13.7 in) in August – the wettest month of the year there. Several locations recorded so much rain in just one day.

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parts of Japan It also saw torrential rain on Monday night, with some areas of Hokkaido reporting flooding – but no casualties as of Tuesday. The authorities warned of the dangers of floods and landslides.

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