The rain began on Monday morning and strengthened through the evening.
By nightfall, people were wading through thigh-high waters in streets in Gangnam, one of Seoul’s most bustling business and leisure districts, where cars and buses were stuck in mud-brown waters. Commuters evacuated as water cascaded down the stairs of the Isu subway station like a waterfall. In the nearby city of Seongnam, a rain-weakened hillside collapsed into a university soccer field.
Rescue workers failed to reach three people – two sisters in their 40s and a 13-year-old girl – who called for help before drowning in a basement home in the Gwanak district of southern Seoul on Monday night. Another woman drowned in her home in the nearby Dongjak district, where a public worker died while clearing fallen trees, likely from electrocution. Choi Seon-yeong, an official from the Dongjak district office, said it wasn’t immediately clear whether the death was caused by a damaged power source or equipment the man was using.
Three people were found dead in the debris of landslides and a collapsed bus station in the nearby cities of Gwangju and Hwaseong.
Four people were missing in southern Seoul’s Seocho district, the home of Yoon, who, according to his office, spent hours on the phone receiving briefings and issuing instructions overnight as rain flooded streets near his high-rise apartment complex.
Nearly 800 buildings in Seoul and nearby cities were damaged and around 1380 people were forced to evacuate from their homes as of Tuesday evening, the Ministry of the Interior and Safety said.
The country’s weather agency maintained a heavy rain warning for the Seoul metropolitan area and nearby regions on Tuesday and said precipitation may reach 5 to 10 centimetres an hour in some areas. It said around 10 to 35 centimetres of additional rain was expected across the capital region through Thursday.
Rainstorms also pounded North Korea, where authorities issued heavy rain warnings for the southern and western parts of the country. North Korea’s official Rodong Sinmun newspaper described the rain as potentially disastrous and called for measures to protect farmland and prevent flooding on the Taedong River, which flows through the capital, Pyongyang.