At least six individuals have gone missing and the death toll from flooding in Seoul and other locations is growing.
Seoul has seen its worst floods on record as a result of two days of nonstop torrential rain, with at least 11 people confirmed dead and six still missing.
According to the Korean Meteorological Administration, the South Korean capital received a total of 496.5 millimetres (20 inches) of rain on Monday and Tuesday, and another 100-300 millimetres are expected to fall there by Thursday (KMA). In some instances, the downpours were so heavy that Dongjak, a district of Seoul, received 140 millimetres of rain in just one hour.
According to Yonhap News, which cited disaster management officials, high waters and mudslides caused more than 2,500 residential and commercial buildings to be damaged or destroyed and left 840 people in need of emergency refuge. In a nation where cars are in such short supply that waiting lists of up to 24 months are not uncommon, thousands of vehicles were drowned, and numerous highways and bridges were blocked by debris or washed away.
The KMA urged people to flee landslide-prone areas because further rain is predicted over the next two days. Entry restrictions in some mountainous areas were ordered by President Yoon Suk-yeol, who also commanded emergency personnel to "react all-out with a sense of awareness" to the situation.
A three-person family from western Seoul was among the victims. On Monday night, they were discovered dead in their flooded, semi-basement flat in the Gwanak neighbourhood. On Tuesday, Yoon paid a visit to the area and urged his administration to look at ways to increase housing safety.
The infamous "mool spoken," also known as the "water bomb," hit South Korea several weeks after the end of the monsoon season there. The amount of precipitation was the most for Seoul in more than 80 years of records.
The waves swelled on Monday evening, trapping office worker Lim Na-Kyung inside a building in Seoul's affluent Gangnam neighbourhood, she told Reuters. The building was rapidly sinking, so she had to climb higher and higher, she said. "I couldn't believe that I was stuck in a building in the centre of Gangnam area with 40 other people." She ended up spending the night on the fourth floor of a Pilates class.
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