Seoul floods: At least 9 dead as record rains inundate buildings and cars in South Korean capital

Rain on Wednesday eased, although already flooded areas could receive an additional 300 millimeters (11.8 inches) by Thursday, forecasters warned, leading to further flooding and mudslides.

Three of the dead were trapped in a flooded basement, according to South Korea’s Interior and Defense Ministry. Seventeen others were injured and at least seven were missing, the ministry said.

More than 500 people have been evacuated since heavy rain hit Seoul on Monday night, with the ministry providing tents, blankets and other relief items. Meanwhile, officials have launched cleanup and rescue operations, and the fire department has rescued 145 people as of Wednesday.

About 2,800 structures — including houses, shops, barricades and other infrastructure — were damaged, though most had been repaired as of Wednesday morning, the defense ministry said.

As of Tuesday night, some parts of Seoul had received up to 497 millimeters (19.6 inches) of rain. At one point, the city recorded 141.5 millimeters (5.6 inches) of rain per hour — the highest rate since officials began keeping records in 1907.

Photos from across the city showed people wading through water up to their thighs on roads during Monday’s flash floods.

In parts of Seoul, drains backed up and poured water back into streets and subway stations, the Seoul Metro said. Several stations were closed due to flooding and lines were temporarily suspended on Monday night.

Images of the aftermath showed debris and rubble strewn across the streets, shoppers scrambling to recover their belongings, damaged sections of pavement and vehicles swept away by floodwaters.

Debris piles up in front of flood-damaged shops at Namsung Sagye Market in Seoul, South Korea, on August 10.

Many areas south of the Han River were worst affected, including the wealthy, modern Gangnam district, where some buildings and shops were flooded and lost power.

South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol He sent his condolences to the victims on Tuesday, and said he was on-site inspecting and working to contain the damage.

He also pointed to the need to review the country’s disaster management system as extreme weather is expected to become more common due to the climate crisis.

Pedestrians cross a flooded road in Jimbo, Seoul on August 9.

Many countries in East Asia are now experiencing more intense daily rainfall, and the summer monsoon is expected to grow stronger and more unpredictable as the Earth warms, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change said.

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Several rounds of heavy rain will continue through Thursday morning before ending Thursday afternoon, according to CNN meteorologists.

Seoul typically receives an average of 348 millimeters (13.7 inches) of rain in August — the wettest month of the year. Many places have recorded this amount of rain in a single day.

Parts of it Japan Rain continued Monday night, with parts of Hokkaido reporting flooding — but no injuries as of Tuesday. Officials have warned of the risk of flash floods and landslides.

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