Heavy rain, floods in Seoul kill seven

People wade alongside cars under water during heavy rainfall in Seoul's Gangnam district on Monday
People wade alongside cars under water during heavy rainfall in Seoul’s Gangnam district on Monday

Subway stations and main roads were under water in the South Korean capital Seoul after record-breaking rain caused heavy flooding, with at least seven people dead and seven more missing, officials said on Tuesday.

Dramatic images shared on social media late Monday showed people wading through waist-deep water, flooded subway stations and half-submerged cars in Seoul’s posh Gangnam district after torrential rain swept through the city.

The downpour that began Monday is the heaviest rain in South Korea in 80 years, according to Seoul’s Yonhap news agency.

“At least seven people died in the Seoul metropolitan area, while seven others are missing, due to heavy rain at 7:30 this morning,” an official at Seoul’s interior ministry told AFP.

Local reports said three people living in a banjiha – cramped basement apartments of the kind made famous in Bong Joon-ho’s Oscar-winning “Parasite” – including a teenager, died when their apartment was inundated by floodwaters.

Parts of Seoul, around Gyeonggi province and the port city of Incheon recorded rain of more than 100 millimeters per hour on Monday evening, according to Yonhap news agency, with hourly rainfall in the capital’s Dongjak district exceeding 141.5 mm at one point, the heaviest. since 1942.

President Yoon Suk-yeol ordered government officials to evacuate residents from high-risk areas and urged businesses to allow employees flexible commute times on Tuesday morning.

“Nothing is more valuable than life and safety. The government will thoroughly manage the situation with a lot of rain,” he wrote on his Facebook account.

Neighborhoods near the presidential residence in southern Seoul were affected, according to photos of the flooding posted on social media.

Power outages were reported across the metropolitan area late Monday, while some operations of the Seoul subway as well as rail services were temporarily disrupted by the heavy rain.

The Seoul Express Bus Terminal in Gangnam was submerged, and floodwaters also leaked into a cafe and a library at the COEX Convention and Exhibition Center in the same area.

A photo of a man in a suit sitting on the hood of a submerged vehicle in the affluent district of southern Seoul — which was featured in Psy’s 2012 K-pop hit “Gangnam Style” — went viral online.

South Korea remained heavily disrupted on Tuesday, with many roads and tunnels closed for security reasons, Yonhap reported.

Hiking trails in many of South Korea’s national parks were closed and passenger ferry routes, including from Incheon port, were suspended.

Rainfall that caused flooding in Seoul on Monday and Tuesday was the heaviest the country had seen in 80 years
Rainfall that caused flooding in Seoul on Monday and Tuesday was the heaviest the country had seen in 80 years
At least seven people were killed and another seven missing after a night of massive rainfall in Seoul
At least seven people were killed and another seven missing after a night of massive rainfall in Seoul

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