Torrential rainfall hits central regions
Half-submerged vehicles are stranded at Daechi Intersection in southern Seoul, Wednesday. Record rainfall pounded the country’s central regions, causing multiple landslides that killed at least 36 people.
By Na Jeong-ju
The heaviest downpour in a century devastated the country’s central regions Tuesday and Wednesday, triggering multiple landslides and floods that killed at least 38 people and left 8 others missing.
The National Emergency Management Agency said more than 50 other people were also injured with four of them in critical condition, predicting that casualties could rise further as the heavy rain is expected to continue until Friday.
Flood waters inundated main roads, residential areas and basement facilities in and around Seoul, cutting the power supply at 14,000 homes and leaving thousands of vehicles submerged on flooded roads.
Seventeen residents were killed in the wreckage from landslides that occurred at hillside villages on Mt. Umyeon in Seocho, southern Seoul.
Among the casualties was Yang Myeong-sook, 63, the wife of Shinsegae Department Store Chairman Koo Hak-su. She drowned while examining the flooded basement of her house located at the foot of the mountain, police said.
Some 400 residents were ordered to evacuate their apartments in the posh mountainside village near the southern tip of the capital.
In Gwangju, Gyeonggi Province, at least six residents in a village near Gongiam Stream were killed and several others went missing after the stream overflowed its banks and submerged the village Wednesday afternoon.
Separately, earlier in the day in Chuncheon, about 100 kilometers northeast of Seoul, a massive landslide destroyed five residential buildings near the Soyang River Dam just after midnight, killing 11 university students and two other people.
The students from Inha University in Incheon were sleeping with other colleagues and tourists at a lodging house when the landslide hit. They were staying there to do voluntary work during their vacation.
Rescue workers said two persons still remain missing, while 24 other people, injured in the landslide, are receiving treatment at nearby hospitals. Four of them were in a serious condition, they said.
“I saw a house being swept away by the landslide on my way home and called the police immediately. The house was soon smashed into pieces. It happened in a flash,” said Choi Jun-yong, a 33-year-old resident in Chuncheon.
Some 90 residents in the area were evacuated from their homes after officials warned of further landslides.
Some people criticized the local government for failing to take necessary safety measures.
“One of the five buildings destroyed by the landslide was inundated by the heavy downpour and signs of a landslide were reported hours before the tragedy. But the city government didn’t list the area as a danger zone so people stayed there,” a resident said, asking not to be named.
A spokesman for Chuncheon City said there was much heavier rainfall than forecast by the weather agency.
The Korea Meteorological Administration (KMA) said more than 110 millimeters of rains per hour, a record volume witnessed once or twice in a century, were recorded in the country’s central regions, including the Seoul metropolitan area, from Tuesday night to Wednesday morning.
The precipitation recorded in Seoul for two days exceeded 400 mm, the agency said, adding that more than 250 mm of rainfall is expected in the capital area through Friday.
Traffic was at a standstill in most parts of the city as streets were flooded and traffic lights were shorted out by the torrential rain. All the 12 riverside parks along the Han River were closed to the public from 2 a.m.
Many public buildings and schools were also closed. EBS suspended broadcasting services after one of its power facilities in Seocho suffered damage from a landslide. The Korea Educational Development Institute, also located in the district, had to evacuate employees after its underground facilities were flooded.
Kim Jae-un, a 37-year-old taxi driver, said he had to quit work early due to “nightmarish” traffic jams and accidents on the roads.
“It took more than four hours to get out of downtown in the morning. It’s normally a 20-minute drive. It was just crazy,” he said.
중앙재난안전대책본부는 서울·경기와 강원북부 지역 등에 내린 폭우로 27일 오후 5시 현재 38명이 사망하고 7명이 실종되는 등의 인적 피해가 발생했다고 밝혔다.
강원 춘천 신북에서 산사태로 펜션이 붕괴되면서 투숙중이던 대학생 등 13명이 사망하고 24명이 부상했다.
서울 서초구 우면동과 방배동, 남태령 등에서 산사태로 주민 등 10명이 사망하고 1명은 실종, 2명은 매몰됐으며 9명이 다쳤다.
경기 가평군 청평에서 방갈로 집기 정리를 하던 2명이 물에 휩쓸렸고 서울 불광동 삼천사 계곡과 불광천 신응교 아래에서도 각각 1명이 실종됐다.
주택 침수나 산사태 우려 등으로 서울 241가구 360명, 경기 156가구 253명 등 401가구 620명의 이재민이 발생했다.
경기도 광주에서는 곤지암천 범람으로 주민 대피령이 발령돼 100여명이 몸을 피했다.
전국 6만6천93가구에 정전이 됐으며 서울 1만4천83가구에는 아직도 전기가 들어오지 않고 있다.
서울 199채, 경기 517채 등 주택 720채와 차량 99대가 침수됐으며 농경지 36.3ha가 물에 잠겼다. 구제역 매몰지 4천799곳은 보고된 피해 사항이 없다.
경춘고속도로와 중부고속도로를 포함해 도로 25개 구간이 통제됐고 청계천과 한강 잠수교는 여전히 통행이 막혀 있으며 지하철 분당선과 중앙선(청량리∼용산역) 운행이 중단됐다.
북한산과 설악산, 오대산, 치악산 등 6개 국립공원도 통제되고 있다.
한강 탄천(대곡교)와 중랑천 중랑교 부근은 홍수주의보가 발령돼 있다.
팔당댐과 소양감댐 등의 수위가 각각 24.54ｍ와 191.59ｍ로 만수위인 25.5ｍ와 193.5ｍ에 접근함에 따라 팔당댐은 1초당 1만5천548t, 소양감댐은 1초당 1천40t을 방류하고 있다.
26일부터 이날 오후 4시까지 누적 강수량은 서울 431.0㎜, 인천 278.0㎜, 동두천 276.5㎜, 춘천 265.0㎜, 문산 264.0㎜, 인제 248.5㎜, 등이다.
서울, 경기, 영서지역은 28일까지 비가 250㎜ 이상 더 내릴 것으로 예상되고 있다.
현재 서울, 인천, 경기, 강원 등에서 공무원 1만801명이 비상근무 중이고 배수펌프장 216곳이 가동되고 있다. (연합)