Landslides kill 22 after downpours in S Korea

Seoul: Torrential rain pounding South Korea on Wednesday triggered landslides which killed 22 people, flooded hundreds of homes and turned main roads into rivers of churning, muddy water.

Thirteen people died when a mudslide hit an inn and three homes in the mountainous Chuncheon area 100 kilometres (60 miles) east of Seoul early on Wednesday, the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) said.

Nine people were killed the same day in southern Seoul by landslides from Umyeon mountain in the city, which was hit by 433.5 millimetres (17.34 inches) of rain in 40 hours between on Tuesday and on Wednesday.

Hundreds of people were forced to evacuate their homes.

Search and rescue efforts by more than 500 firefighters and police were still underway at Chuncheon, where ten of the victims were students from Inha University in the western city of Incheon, who were in the area for volunteer work.

“I was sleeping on the second floor of the pension (inn) when I heard the thunderous sound of a landslide. The stairs collapsed and I was buried under mud,” one student rescued by firefighters told Yonhap news agency. NEMA said 20 others were injured, four of them seriously. (AFP)

In Seoul, police declared an emergency, and more than 4,000 officers were mobilised to help ease traffic gridlock, block roads deemed too dangerous to use, and aid rescue efforts.

Streets, subway stations, underpasses and residential districts were flooded throughout the capital. At Uijeongbu north of Seoul, Yonhap said that three people were reported missing in flooded streams and rivers. (AFP)

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