The death toll is on the rise as rescue operations continue in the country’s southern regions, which were battered by Typhoon Mitag on Wednesday and Thursday.
As of 7 p.m. Thursday, 10 people had been confirmed dead, four missing and eight injured, according to the Central Safety and Countermeasures Against Disasters.
The latest reported fatality was a man in Saha-gu, Busan, who was found dead under the wreck of a house that collapsed after a massive landslide occurred around 9 a.m. The body of a 65-year-old woman, who owned a restaurant that was also engulfed by the landslide, was recovered at 3:48 p.m. Local rescue authorities are still searching for the dead man’s elderly parents.
Most of the damage was reported in South Jeolla, Gangwon and the Gyeongsang provinces, which were hit directly by the typhoon. Mitag, which left South Korea at 6 a.m. Thursday, pummeled the southern regions of the nation with heavy downpours, damaging property and flooding homes and roads.
Up to 500 millimeters of rain pounded Samcheok, Gangwon Province, falling at 129 mm per hour when the storm was at its worst.
Two people from the area have been confirmed dead and three others injured. A woman, 77, died when a landslide struck her home around midnight; and a body, believed to be that of a Chinese worker in his 40s reported missing earlier, was discovered in Gangneung.
Heavy casualties were reported in North Gyeongsang Province, where 200 to 555 mm of rain lashed most parts of the region. Uljin, through which Mitag exited the peninsula, had recorded 555.6 mm of rain as of 10 a.m. Thursday.
A 73-year-old woman in Pohang and a 76-year-old man in Seongju were found dead after being swept away in floods. A woman, 59, was confirmed dead after her house in Yeongdeok was hit by a landslide. At around 9 a.m., a couple in their 60s living in Uljin were rescued from under their collapsed house, but were confirmed dead on the way to the hospital. A 72-year-old man in Pohang was also discovered dead after reportedly being buried under a collapsed roof.
Authorities were also searching for the driver of a car that had been swept away on a flooded road in Pohang. The car was found empty.
A flood watch alert -- the first in seven years -- was issued at 8:20 a.m. Thursday in Busan as the Nakdong River swelled from the torrential rain that continued to lash the area throughout the morning.
Over 310 people lost their homes in South Jeolla, Gangwon, South Gyeongsang and Jeju provinces, while more than 1,500 people had to be evacuated. Four people on Jeju Island are being treated for injuries.
Property and infrastructure damage were also reported. Around 1,015 homes in the affected regions have been flooded and 26 other buildings were severely damaged or destroyed. Farmland and related facilities have also been affected.
Also, a train derailed while traveling on the Yeongdong Line at 3:36 a.m. Thursday due to a nearby landslide. Passengers were evacuated from the train and repairs were in progress.
About 48,673 homes experienced power outages overnight in typhoon-hit areas. Electricity has been restored to around 95 percent of the homes.
Mitag made landfall on the southern coast of South Jeolla Province at around 9:40 p.m. Wednesday and quickly traveled eastward, exiting to the East Sea through Uljin, North Gyeongsang Province, at around 6 a.m. on Thursday.
Among the seven typhoons that have now hit South Korea this year, Mitag is the only one that moved across the inland region from west to east and is likely to have caused the most damage.
By Choi Ji-won (firstname.lastname@example.org)