South Korean authorities said on Tuesday that at least eight people died in and around Seoul overnight, with an unknown amount of additional casualties occurring in neighboring cities after excessive rain, which also led to landslides, flooded highways and subways, and a power outage.
The rainfall accumulation in Seoul since midnight Monday measured 451mm as of 2 p.m. on Tuesday, with more rain forecasted.
The Central Disaster and Safety Countermeasures Headquarters reported that by early Tuesday, at least five individuals had died in Seoul, with three more deaths recorded in the nearby Gyeonggi Province. According to the report, four people drowned in flooded buildings; one is thought to have gotten electrocuted, another was discovered below a bus stop, and the other two were killed in a landslide.
The floods also led to the disappearance of seven people, while nine others faced injuries. Data showed that 52 highways and roads had been blocked, and at least 765 infrastructures destroyed.
According to statistics, there were roughly 391 casualties in the greater Seoul region; most citizens had to remain in neighborhood gyms and schools, while another 399 temporarily got relocated to community centers and schools.
Lim Na-Kyung, a 31-year-old office worker, described her worries from Monday night and compared the circumstances to a moment from the 1997 movie “Titanic.”
The headquarters raised the crisis alert to the highest and requested organizations adjust their working hours. The KMA issued heavy rain warnings across the capital, the metropolitan area of 26 million, and parts of Gangwon and Chungcheong Provinces.
A KMA official stated that the sharp influx of precipitation was a direct result of climate change, “This phenomenon is seen occurring more often due to climate change that has resulted in a prolonged summer.”
The Disaster Headquarters stated that President Yoon Suk-yeol held an emergency meeting on emergency response and directed officials to concentrate on preventing casualties and swiftly managing and recovering flooded regions.
Yoon then visited the basement apartment where three family members died the night before after swift-moving flood waters filled the space. The dangers of such underground flats, called banjiha, got depicted in a flooding scene in the 2020 Oscar-winning film “Parasite.”
After seeing the damage and imagining the struggles, Yoon promised his people that he would return them to normalcy as soon as possible.