4 Killed in Heavy Flooding in Central Korea

Four people were killed after up to 300 mm of torrential rainfall drenched Seoul, Gyeonggi Province and Gangwon Province early Monday morning. The rain also triggered landslides and inundated low-lying areas, while 13 roads including Yeongdong Expressway in Gangwon Province and Jamsu Bridge in Seoul were closed to traffic.

A 61-year-old pastor died in a landslide near a prayer retreat in Icheon, Gyeonggi Province around 9 a.m., while a 75-year-old man was killed as a charcoal kiln collapsed in Yeoju in the same province around noon.

Also in Icheon, a 61-year-old farmer, who went missing after he went out to the fields to take a look at the crops, was found dead in a landslide around 4:40 p.m., while at a temple, a prefabricated building was destroyed in a landslide, leaving a 71-year-old woman dead.

Flood warnings were issued for some areas. In Gwangju, Gyeonggi Province, eight primary and secondary schools closed for the day due to the overflowing Gonjiam Stream.

Vehicles are submerged in a parking lot in the Tan Stream on Monday. Vehicles are submerged in a parking lot in the Tan Stream on Monday.

Meanwhile, the area near Gangnam subway station in Seoul was inundated for the third year running. For an hour from 5 a.m. when a heavy rain warning was issued for the capital, the areas near Gangnam and Sadang stations saw 67 mm of torrential rainfall and were inundated by up to 20 cm of water, causing inconvenience to commuters.

Over 40 vehicles in a parking lot in the Tan Stream were flooded by the overflowing stream. Conditions on the roads returned to normal around 8 a.m. as the rain abated.

Although Seoul saw a total of 80 mm of rainfall on the day, much less than the 300 mm in July 2011, the Gangnam station area was inundated again this year because it is a low-lying area. Also, sewer lines converge in the Gangnam and Sadang station areas.

After the 2011 floods, Seoul city built massive rainwater storage tanks near the two subway stations. They hold rainwater temporarily in heavy rains to prevent the sewer system exceeding its capacity. But despite the torrential rains, city officials thought it was unnecessary to use the tank near the Gangnam station. "As the Gangnam station area was not entirely inundated, we did not open the tank," a city official said.

englishnews@chosun.com / Jul. 23, 2013 10:19 KST