S Korea floods leave at least 20 dead as thousands forced to evacuate

At least 22 people have been killed by deadly flooding in South Korea, as torrential rainfall continues to batter central regions.

A third day of downpours triggered landslides and caused a major dam in the central North Chungcheong province to overflow.

Heavy rain submerged roads, swept away cars and disrupted railways.

Another 14 people are missing and thousands have been forced to evacuate their homes, officials said.

Most of the casualties were reported from the North Gyeongsang province, caused by landslides in the mountainous area that destroyed homes.

Entire houses “were swept away whole” in the most severely affected areas, an emergency responder told local media.

Prime Minister Han Duck-soo has asked the military to assist with rescue efforts.

Authorities say 19 cars have been submerged in an underground tunnel in the central Chungcheong province – prompting fears the number of fatalities could rise.

Thousands of people have been affected by evacuation orders issued by various local governments.

Some 6,400 residents were evacuated after the Goesan Dam began to overflow at around 06:30 local time on Saturday (21:30 GMT on Friday), South Korean news agency Yonhap said.

A number of low-lying villages near the dam, as well as many of the roads connecting them, were said to have been submerged, leaving some residents trapped in their homes.

Korail, the country’s national rail operator, has announced the suspension of all slow trains and some bullet trains, and said other bullet train services would be disrupted.

Late on Friday, a train was derailed in North Chungcheong after a landslide threw earth and sand onto the tracks.

One engineer was injured in the incident, but the train was not carrying passengers at the time.

The Korea Meteorological Administration forecast more rainfall through to Wednesday next week. It warned that the weather conditions pose a “grave” danger.

 

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