Seoul, South Korea
Record downpours flooded homes, roads and subway stations in the South Korean capital Seoul this week, killing at least nine people, as forecasters warned more rain was on the way.
The torrential rain eased on Wednesday, although already flooded areas could see an additional 300 millimeters (11.8 inches) of rain through Thursday, which could lead to more flooding and mudslides, forecasters warned.
Three of those who died had been trapped in a flooded basement, according to the South Korean Ministry of the Interior and Security. Another 17 were injured and at least seven people are still missing, the ministry said.
On Tuesday, China’s Foreign Ministry confirmed that two Chinese citizens had been killed. One died in a landslide at a dormitory in Hwaseong, south of Seoul, while the other was electrocuted during outdoor construction work during the storm.
More than 500 people have been evacuated since heavy rains hit Seoul on Monday night, with the ministry providing tents, blankets and other relief items. Meanwhile, authorities are launching clean-up and rescue services, with the fire department having rescued 145 people as of Wednesday.
Around 2,800 structures, including houses, shops, retaining walls and other pieces of infrastructure, were damaged, although most had been repaired as of Wednesday morning, according to the Security Ministry.
As of Tuesday night, parts of Seoul saw up to 497 millimeters (19.6 inches) of rain. At one point, the city recorded 141.5 millimeters (5.6 in) of rain per hour, the highest rate since authorities began keeping records in 1907.
Photos from across the city during Monday’s flash floods show people walking through streets in thigh-deep water.
In some parts of Seoul, drains became clogged and sent water into streets and subway stations, according to the Seoul Metro. Several stations were closed due to flooding and lines were temporarily suspended on Monday night.
Images of the aftermath show rubble and debris strewn across the streets, merchants trying to salvage their goods, parts of the pavement crumbling, and damaged vehicles that had been swept away by the floodwaters.
Several regions south of the Han River were hit the hardest, including the wealthy and trendy Gangnam district, where some buildings and shops were flooded and power was left without power.
South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol He sent his condolences to the victims on Tuesday and said he would conduct an on-site inspection and work to prevent further damage.
He also noted the need to overhaul the country’s disaster management system as extreme weather events are expected to become more common due to the climate crisis.
Many countries in East Asia are now experiencing heavier daily rainfall, with summer monsoons expected to become stronger and more unpredictable as the Earth warms, according to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change.
More rounds of heavy rain will continue into Thursday morning before ending Thursday afternoon, according to CNN forecasters.
Seoul typically averages 348 millimeters (13.7 in) of rain in August, the wettest month of the year there. Several places recorded that much rain in a single day.
Parts of Japan There were also downpours on Monday night, with some regions of Hokkaido reporting flooding, but no injuries as of Tuesday. Authorities have warned of the risk of flash flooding and landslides.