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(2nd LD) Heavy rain pummels S. Korea, leaving 5 dead, 5 missing

14:21 August 02, 2020

(ATTN: UPDATES headline, paras 1, 6-11, 18; ADDS photo)
By Park Boram

SEOUL, Aug. 2 (Yonhap) -- Heavy rains triggered a string of mudslides and flooding in central South Korea on Sunday, leaving at least five people dead and five others missing, and forcing the suspension of train services and road closures.

A landslide engulfed a chicken farm in the Gyeonggi Province city of Anseong, about 70 kilometers south of Seoul, around 7:10 a.m. and killed a 58-year-old man. Rescue workers found his body buried in the mud at 9:18 a.m. after two hours of searching.

In Chungju, some 105 km southeast of Seoul, a firefighter went missing after being swept away in strong currents. The 29-year-old, identified by his surname Song, was standing next to a stream to check swollen waters when the ground suddenly collapsed and caused him to fall into the stream around 7:30 a.m.

A search operation is under way, officials said.

Also in Chungju, a 56-year-old woman was killed after a landslide enveloped a cowshed and sparked a gas explosion around 10:30 a.m.

A separate landslide in Chungju left another 76-year-old woman dead around 8 a.m., with one more man, aged 59, found dead near a fishing spot in Eumseong, North Chungcheong, at around 11 a.m. He reportedly drowned in a flooded stream, according to officials.

A 62-year-old resident of Eumseong was also swept away in torrents and went missing at 8:30 a.m.

In Jecheon, North Chungcheong Province, a 42-year-old camper was found buried in mudslides early Sunday morning. The camper was rushed to a hospital but was pronounced dead.

This photo provided by the National Fire Agency shows a collapsed road in Chungju, which left one firefighter missing on Aug. 2, 2020. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)

In nearby Danyang, three people -- a woman, her daughter and son-in-law -- went missing after being englufed by torrents. Officials said the couple were trying to save their mother being swept away by a flash flood while working in a farming field.

Torrential rain of up to 60 millimeters per hour soaked northern parts of North Chungcheong Province overnight, including Chungju, and adjacent areas that include Cheongju, Jecheon and the county of Danyang.

More than 80 houses in Chungju were flooded, forcing some 120 residents to evacuate early Sunday morning.

Train services on three train lines running in the central and eastern parts of the country -- the Chungbuk, Taebaek and Jungang lines -- were disrupted due to mudslides and flooding.

The Chungbuk Line runs from the central city of Sejong to Jecheon, the Taebak Line from Jecheon to the Gangwon Province city of Taebaek and the Jungang Line from Seoul to the southeastern city of Gyeongju.

Mudslides also caused a number of roads in the regions to close.

A photo taken by a reader shows the aftermath of a mudslide on an expressway running through Jecheon. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)

The national railway operator, the Korea Railroad Corp. (Korail), advised travelers in the affected regions to opt for other means of transportation as it may take considerable time to fix the train services.

Evacuation alerts were also issued for nearly 5,000 residents of the county of Eumseong, North Chungcheong, due to flooding risks involving a reservoir and streams there.

The country's capital area, including cities in Gyeonggi Province encircling Seoul, also reported flooded houses and cases of property damage after heavy rain of around 60 mm per hour hit the areas.

The weather agency retained its heavy rain warnings on many parts of North Chungcheong, including Cheongju, Chungju and Jecheon, as well as other central regions.

According to the agency, North Chungcheong may continue to receive heavy rain throughout the day till Monday, with precipitation expected to rise up to 80 mm per hour at some points.

Gyeonggi and Gangwon Province were also under heavy rain alerts as of Sunday morning where the amount of rainfall is forecast to go up to 50 mm per hour with possible thunder and lightning between Sunday and Monday.

A house in Chungju, North Chungcheong Province, was destroyed in heavy rains on Aug. 2, 2020. (Yonhap)
A railway running through Chungju, North Chungcheong Province, is submerged due to heavy rain, in this photo provided by the Korea Railroad Corp. (PHOTO NOT FOR SALE) (Yonhap)

pbr@yna.co.kr
(END)

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