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13 regions, including Yecheon, designated as special disaster areasBy Shin Ji-hye
Published : July 19, 2023 - 14:08
President Yoon Suk Yeol on Wednesday declared 13 municipalities as special disaster areas, after torrential rain pummeled most of the country and brought widespread destruction.
The areas include Yecheon in North Gyeongsang Province, which reported nine deaths as of 6:00 a.m. on Wednesday, along with Gongju and Nonsan-si in South Chungcheong Province, Cheongju in North Chungcheong Province and Iksan in North Jeolla Province.
“Areas where preliminary investigations have been completed are declared as special disaster zones in order for the victims to quickly return to their daily lives," Yoon's spokesperson Lee Do-woon said at a morning press briefing.
"Continuous heavy rain and flooding are making it difficult to investigate damages in some areas," he said. "We intend to promptly complete damage investigations in areas that have not been declared this time and add them to the list of special disaster areas if they meet the declaration criteria."
Yoon urged Interior Minister Han Chang-seob for prompt support to the damage restoration and relevant agencies to make all-out efforts to prevent more human casualties as torrential rain is expected to continue, according to Lee.
He also told Agriculture Minister Jeong Hwang-geu to make every effort to support farms affected by heavy rains and manage the supply and demand of crops.
Victims will receive a disaster subsidy, whether they live in the special disaster areas or not, and get national and local tax exemptions and reductions in public utility charges.
The Central Disaster and Safety Countermeasure Headquarters reported a death toll of 44 and six missing persons due to the heavy rainfall, as of 6:00 a.m. on Wednesday. The number of injured has climbed to a total of 35.
As fears of rain damage grew, about 16,000 residents have since evacuated to temporary shelters such as school or village halls. Of these, 7,839 were still unable to return home.
So far, 421 houses have been flooded or destroyed. Over a thousand public facilities such as roads, river embankments and bridges have been damaged.
Crop damage has also been extensive, with a total of 30,000 hectares of farmland, including rice fields and orchards, damaged by flooding. About 693,000 livestock, such as cows, chickens and pigs, have died.
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