South Korea flooding leaves at least 22 dead and 14 missing

SEOUL — At least 22 people were killed and 14 people are missing after up to 22 inches of rain fell on parts of South Korea over a three-day period, triggering landslides and collapsing homes, government officials said Saturday.

In Sejong, a city in the country’s central region, a storekeeper who was checking for rain damage to his shop was killed when a landslide hit, according to the government. In the nearby city of Nonsan, two people died after a building was destroyed. In Cheongyang, where at least 22 inches of rain fell this week, a home was partially swallowed by a mudslide.

Thirteen more people were hospitalized across the country due to mudslides, road damage and a train derailment.

South Korea’s rail service said it suspended some high-speed rail and almost all other passenger train services due to safety concerns about flooding. At least 20 flights were canceled, the government said.

Rescuers were looking for potential survivors at an underpass where an estimated 19 cars got stranded due to flooding, the government said.

Thousands of homes in Seoul and Busan, the two most populous cities, temporarily lost electricity, according to the government. Hundreds of people were asked to evacuate across the country.

Prime Minister Han Duck-soo said he had ordered the military to assist local police and firefighters with rescue efforts. More than 300 troops had been deployed, the government said in an update at 6 p.m. Saturday.

“Do everything to evacuate [residents] from danger-zones, and keep patrolling areas even where the possibility of [risk] is low,” Han said according to a news release.

South Korea also suffered from flooding last summer. Record rainfall in August 2022 left at least 11 people dead and brought attention to Seoul’s most vulnerable residents, who live in semi-underground apartments.

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