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Torrential rain lessens in South Korean capital amid heavy flood damage

SEOUL — Torrential rains that have slammed South Korea's capital, Seoul, diminished on Wednesday (Aug 10) after killing at least nine people and damaging about 2,800 homes and other buildings.

A general view of the Han River Park submerged by torrential rain at Han river in Seoul, South Korea on Aug 10, 2022.

A general view of the Han River Park submerged by torrential rain at Han river in Seoul, South Korea on Aug 10, 2022.

SEOUL — Torrential rains that have slammed South Korea's capital, Seoul, diminished on Wednesday (Aug 10) after killing at least nine people and damaging about 2,800 homes and other buildings.

More rain was forecast for Wednesday, but less than the heavy downpours on Monday and Tuesday that submerged some streets and buildings, trapping people in flooded apartments and stranding cars.

At least five people had been killed in Seoul as of early Wednesday, as well as three in the neighbouring Gyeonggi Province and one in Gangwon Province, according to the Central Disaster and Safety Countermeasures Headquarters. At least 17 people have been injured, and seven are missing.

Ms Wan Sufia, 29, a student who has lived in Gangnam district in Seoul since February for a language programme, said that she was calf-deep in water while on her way home from dinner on Monday night.

Speaking to TODAY in a phone interview on Wednesday, she said: “I was scared and worried. I was trying to look for other routes to walk through without having to go through the high water because I needed to get home and study for an exam. 

“In my area, there are quite a lot of elderly people, I saw one of them almost fall over because of the floods.” 

When she got home, there was an electricity outage for about two hours, so Ms Sufia had to use a K-pop light stick as a source of light while studying for a test she had the next day. 

“The rain continued till about 4am in the morning. They’re pumping water out at some places and the roads along Gangnam were damaged. The lower levels of buildings are the worst hit,” she said. 

She added that life has returned back to normal, and she was able to travel to Konkuk University smoothly for her test on Tuesday. 

Mr Terence Lee, a 36-year-old strategy manager, said that he was worried about whether he would be able to make it home on Monday night. 

Mr Lee, whose office is in the Gangnam area, said that the water was waist-deep. 

"I could see people waddling in the water with cars floating," he said. 

He added that it typically takes him 10 minutes to get home, but the floods added an extra 20 minutes to his journey.

"I wasn't hurt, luckily, even though I slipped on my butt once," he said.

Ms Chua Pei Chi, who helps run the Singapore Club Seoul, said that there are about 500 Singaporeans in its mailing list but she has not heard of any Singaporeans reporting an injury from the flood.

Ms Chua, who lives in the northern part of Seoul, said that she was not affected as well.

The Singapore Embassy in Seoul told TODAY on Wednesday that it has not received requests for consular assistance from Singaporeans who are being affected by the flood.

"We have urged Singaporeans to heed the advisories put out by the local authorities and to avoid affected areas, if possible," the embassy said.

"Singaporeans in need of urgent consular assistance can contact the Embassy at the Embassy’s emergency telephone number:  +82-10-7204-6240."

Flooding in some buildings around the glitzy Gangnam district continued on Tuesday, while subway stations and several roads there had been blocked.

Data showed at least 2,800 public and private facilities had been damaged across South Korea, and more than 1,100 households had been displaced. Most highways and subway lines had been cleared by Wednesday.

The accumulated rainfall in Seoul since midnight Monday stood at 525mm as of 7am Wednesday, according to the Korea Meteorological Administration (KMA), with more forecast. In neighbouring Yangpyeong County, total rainfall hit 532.5mm.

The KMA expects rain to continue in most parts of the country, with especially heavier rain in Chungcheong Province. The agency predicted that rainfall would gradually subside in many parts of the greater Seoul area and Gangwon Province. REUTERS, WITH ADDITIONAL REPORTING BY KIMBERLY LIM

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