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[Newsmaker] Another heavy downpour expected; authorities on alert

Firefighters launch rescue efforts Thursday at an underpass in Busan where three people died after being trapped inside due to heavy rainfall. (Busan Metropolitan Police Agency)
Firefighters launch rescue efforts Thursday at an underpass in Busan where three people died after being trapped inside due to heavy rainfall. (Busan Metropolitan Police Agency)
With heavy rainfall expected again this week, authorities are on high alert to prevent further damages during the monsoon season, especially down south.

The Ministry of the Interior and Safety called an emergency meeting Sunday as the Korea Meteorological Administration forecast torrential rains in Busan, Gangwon Province, and other regions that have yet to recover from a recent downpour. The weather agency issued a special warning about landslides in Busan due to loose soil after the area got 200 millimeters of rain on Thursday. 

In preparation for what could be the final challenge of this year’s monsoon season, the ministry ordered affected areas to expedite the recovery process and asked regional authorities to prepare in case emergency evacuations are necessary. 

The ministry also asked regional authorities to keep COVID-19 prevention measures in mind when operating evacuation facilities.

According to the weather agency, rain is forecast for most of the country from Monday to Thursday, with much of downpour expected in the southern provinces.

After the rainstorm, this year’s monsoon season will mostly end, the weather agency said. Clear weather is expected by Tuesday on Jeju Island and Thursday in the other southern provinces, but the rain could continue in the capital region through next weekend and will fade away next Monday.

On Thursday and Friday last week, heavy downpours with strong winds caused flash floods in Busan and other regions, killing five and injuring nine. 

According to the Central Disaster Management Headquarters, three people died in Busan after being trapped inside a flooded underpass and two others drowned in Ulsan and Gimpo, Gyeonggi Province.

Around 256 people from 157 households were evacuated, while 349 buildings were flooded and 230 hectares of farmland sank under rain.

Busan, which was hit with up to 80 millimeters rainfall per hour, was thrown into chaos as subway stations were flooded and streets turned into streams with waist-high waters. Construction sites saw an influx of water and mud.

Around 215.5 millimeters of rain poured on Ulsan, flooding sidewalks and triggering flash floods. Dozens of damages were filed with municipal authorities.

By Ko Jun-tae (ko.juntae@heraldcorp.com)
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