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Seoul Metro Area Suffers Worst Rainfall in 102 Years

Posted September. 24, 2010 17:56,   


Residents and officials in flood-affected areas helped restoration works Tuesday and Wednesday amid the heaviest rainfall in the Seoul metropolitan area in 102 years.

They gave up spending time with their families over the Chuseok (Full Moon Harvest) holidays as heavy rain hit the country`s central region including Seoul, Incheon and the provinces of Gyeonggi and Gangwon.

A third-stage warning was issued to mobilize all government officials for restoration works at 9 p.m. Tuesday, with 3,398 fire engines and 9,062 firefighters deployed for drainage from Tuesday.

The Defense Ministry sent some 1,400 soldiers to help residents in affected areas from Wednesday, and municipal and provincial officials there also helped in restoration works.

The Health and Welfare Ministry is taking preventive measures against water-borne diseases such as cholera.

Seoul saw 259.5 millimeters of rain with record-breaking rainfall in its western Gangseo district at 98.5 millimeters per hour Tuesday and Wednesday. The rainfall was also the country`s heaviest for the second half of September since 1908, when observation of surface weather began in Korea.

Rainfall of 261 millimeters fell for three hours in Gangseo, something which had last occurred 500 years ago.

Flooding killed one person and left one missing, and 14,000 households were flooded. As many as 11,919 people had to spend the Chuseok holidays in temporary housing.

Two fishermen went missing as the rope that tied them broke while they were being rescued in Yeongwol County, Gangwon Province, at 1:46 a.m. Wednesday. One of them was later found dead.

The heavy rainfall cut off electricity to 2,706 households in Seoul, Incheon and Gangwon Province. Major roads and underground houses were swamped with water in Seoul`s Gangseo and Yangcheon districts, and certain roads and subway stations were flooded with water.

President Lee Myung-bak ordered assistance of 1 million won (861 U.S. dollars) per flooded household as an emergency measure. The Seoul city government has given 5.6 billion won (4.8 million dollars) in assistance, Gyeonggi Province 1.2 billion won (1 million dollars), and Incheon two billion won (1.7 million dollars) since Wednesday morning.

The Seoul city government will try to limit the construction of basement houses, most of which were flooded this time, and increase rainwater detention facilities and drain pump stations as preventive measures.

The city also will provide 1 million won (861 dollars) per capita to residents of affected areas and small and medium-size merchants from the Disaster Recovery Fund and extend loans worth a combined 10 billion won (8.6 million dollars) at an annual interest rate of two percent.