The death toll from flooding caused by the heaviest rains that hit the north of South Korea in 80 years has risen to 14 and there are still six missing, local authorities said today (12).
Search services on Thursday found the bodies of two residents of the capital, Seoul, in a sewer, South Korean news agency Yonhap reported.
The floods have so far left eight dead in Seoul, three in the rest of the western province of Gyeonggi and another three in the eastern province of Gangwon. There are six people missing in the capital.
More than 6,000 people and nearly 3,000 families had to be evacuated from their homes in 46 cities, towns and villages, including the capital. Many live in subsoils flooded by rain.
Half of the people who died in the last few days lived in this type of housing. In Seoul there are about 200,000 basement dwellings, housing 5% of all families in the capital, Yonhap reported.
According to the agency, the capital’s authorities have announced that they will ask the government to review the urban construction law in order to prohibit the use of basements for residences.
Seoul will also give building owners a period of 20 years to convert these sites to non-residential uses, such as warehouses or parking lots, as well as support the population to move into public housing.
Parts of Seoul, as well as the port city of Inchon and Gyeonggi Province, saw heavy rains of more than 100 millimeters for several consecutive hours on Tuesday.
Precipitation exceeded 140 millimeters (mm) for one hour in the Dongjak district of Seoul. The heaviest rain recorded in 60 minutes since 1942.
The heavy rains caused flooding of houses, vehicles, buildings and underground stations, according to Yonhap.
The rains also hit North Korea, where authorities have issued warnings for the south and west of the country, state television KCTV reported Tuesday.
the official journal Rodong Sinmun described the heavy rains as potentially “disastrous” and called for measures to protect farmland and prevent flooding from the Taedong River, which flows through the capital, Pyongyang.
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