Torrential rain kills at least 41 in S Korea

14:28, July 28, 2011      

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Flash floods and landslides triggered by torrential rain have left 41 people dead and 12 missing in South Korea as of Thursday morning, the National Emergency Management Agency said.

At least 15 people were killed after a wave of mudslide engulfed residential areas at the foot of Mount Umyeon in southern Seoul on Wednesday.

The death toll from a landslide in Chuncheon, about 110 kilometers northeast of Seoul, stood at 13. Most of the victims were college students who visited the area for volunteer work.

A plant collapsed in Paju, Gyeonggi Province, leaving three workers dead and two others seriously injured. Another eight people died and hundreds evacuated as Gonjiam Stream in Gwangju, Gyeonggi Province, flooded.

Some bridges over the main Han River, which runs through the center of Seoul, were closed. Heavy rain has also caused rivers to burst their banks, disrupted travel and triggered power outages.

Police declared a state of special emergency as streets, subway stations, underpasses and residential districts were flooded throughout the capital. The military also dispatched 1,500 soldiers to conduct rescues and help clear roads.

The Korean Meteorological Administration said Seoul received 301.5 millimeters of rain on Wednesday alone, the largest amount of rainfall reported for a day in July. The national weather agency forecast more downpours until Friday, with expected rainfall of up to 250 mm until later Thursday in some areas in Seoul and nearby regions.

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