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South Korea landslides kill 18

July 27, 2011



A South Korean driver pushes his truck through flooded street in southern Seoul on July 27, 2011. Heavy rain hit the central part of the Korean peninsula, triggering landslides that killed 18 people. – AFP Photo

Landslides triggered by torrential rain in South Korea have killed a total of 18 people, police and a rescue agency said Wednesday.

They said 12 people died when a mudslide hit an inn and three homes in the mountainous Chuncheon area 100 kilometres (60 miles) east ofSeoul. Five people were killed in a mudslide in southern Seoul and one elsewhere in the city.

Wild weather has battered the peninsula since late Tuesday, causing widespread flooding and transport delays, while the share price of insurers fell on fears that damage costs would run into millions of dollars.

At Chuncheon, rescue workers were still looking through the muddy rubble of the wrecked hotels, restaurant and coffee shop searching for missing people.

“We were asleep and suddenly I heard a big sound, and then the ceiling fell down,” Lee Beon-seok, a student, told local television.

A local resident reported hearing what sounded like train.

“And then I heard someone shouting “help me”. So I went out to see, and I saw a landslide had swept all over the area,” she said.

Local media reports said that 35 college students and some 40 tourists were staying at the small hotels.

Over the past 24 hours 400 mm (16 inches) of rain has been dumped on the capital Seoul, causing flash floods, landslides and bridge closures.

A blackout hit the south of the city, suspending train services. Subway stations in Seoul were turned into swimming pools, stranded commuters said.

Emergency workers said that at least four people were killed in other accidents related to the severe weather. The weather bureau said more heavy rain was forecast for the next 48 hours.

There was no immediate reports of damage to crops, and flights and shipping were not affected.

With inputs from AFP and Reuters.

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