Recovery underway in rain-hit South Korean capital region

SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — Cleanup and recovery efforts gathered pace in the greater South Korean capital area on Wednesday as skies cleared after two days of record rainfall that triggered flash floods , damaged thousands of buildings and roads and killed at least nine people.

While lifting heavy rain warnings for Seoul and nearby metropolitan areas, the South Korean weather agency forecast 10 to 30 centimeters (4 to 12 inches) of rain in southern parts of the country…

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SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — Cleanup and recovery efforts gathered pace in the greater South Korean capital area on Wednesday as skies cleared after two days of record rainfall that triggered flash floods , damaged thousands of buildings and roads and killed at least nine people.

While lifting heavy rain warnings for Seoul and nearby metropolitan areas, South Korea’s meteorological agency forecast 10 to 30 centimeters (4 to 12 inches) of rain in southern parts of the country through Thursday.

Seven people are still missing in Seoul and neighboring Gyeonggi Province following heavy rains that flooded the region on Monday and Tuesday, turning streets into rivers clogged with cars, flooding subway stations, triggering landslides that crashed into roads and buildings and displaced more than 1,800 people from their homes. Of the nine people who died, four drowned in their homes in Seoul.

South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol, at a disaster response meeting on Wednesday, apologized on behalf of the government for the deaths and disruption caused by the heavy rains. He urged the central government to provide more financial aid and personnel assistance to cities and regional governments to speed up recovery efforts.

He also called for significant improvements in the country’s flood management systems, including building more rain reservoirs and tunnels and improving flood forecasting technologies, citing growing challenges posed by extreme weather events.

“It’s certainly true that (the rainfall) was freak weather, but we’ve come to a point where we can’t call freak weather abnormal anymore,” Yoon said. “We could see new record levels (of rain) at any time. We must build our response to be ready for a situation worse than we had imagined.

The Ministry of Interior and Security said that as of Wednesday afternoon, workers had completed the restoration of more than 90% of the approximately 2,800 buildings, houses, roads and other facilities in the capital region. that had been prioritized in emergency recovery plans.

Nearly 3,000 government workers, including police and firefighters, and dozens of excavators and dump trucks were deployed as part of the recovery efforts. The army separately deployed around 1,300 troops, some of whom were seen clearing debris and scavenging furniture in flooded neighborhoods in southern Seoul.

There were no immediate reports of major damage or casualties in areas south of the capital, where the weather agency issued heavy rain warnings. Landslide warnings have been issued in more than 30 cities and towns across the country,

More than 52 centimeters (20 inches) of rain was measured in Seoul’s hardest-hit Dongjak district from Monday to Wednesday at noon. Rainfall in the area topped 14 centimeters (5.5 inches) per hour at one point Monday evening – the heaviest hourly downpour measured in Seoul since 1942.

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