Rescue workers missing in South Korean floods

Residents look on a submerged Han River park by flooded Han River in Seoul, South Korea, on August 6, 2020.
Residents look on a submerged Han River park by flooded Han River in Seoul, South Korea, on August 6, 2020.

Seven rescue workers were missing in South Korea after their boats overturned in floodwaters on Thursday, as heavy rain across the Korean peninsula threatened to bring new floods and landslides.

Parts of South Korea have seen 44 consecutive days of rain, the longest monsoon since 2013, the Yonhap news agency reported.

In Seoul, a sinkhole has formed on a road in the Gangnam-gu District. A number of homes in the capital have reported flooding,... while authorities have blocked entrances to riverbanks in most districts in the capital area. People have also been blocked from accessing mountains due to the possibility of landslides. Yoon Jung-min, Arirang News.

Three rescue boats overturned and were swept downstream as they were trying to free a police boat stuck in wire by a dam near the city of Chuncheon, northeast of Seoul.

Witnesses said some of the boats’ occupants had disappeared, but there was no immediate confirmation of casualties.

Elsewhere, at least 16 people have been killed and 11 were missing, with more than 1,600 people displaced over recent days.

In Seoul, the Han River swelled over its banks in some areas after authorities were forced to open floodgates on upstream dams. Some highways by the river had to be closed.

On Wednesday, Prime Minister Chung Sye-kyun visited some of the hardest hit areas and urged the government to consider proposals to designate several provinces special disaster zones.

A decision on that could come by Friday, with the designation allowing areas to get more government aid.

Emergency workers implemented measures to prevent the spread of the coronavirus in gyms and community centres being used as shelters.

Heavy rain has also fallen in North Korea and state media published pictures of flooded streets, but did not give any detail of damage or casualties.

The government in North Korea has issued a flooding alert for areas near some of its biggest rivers and lakes. — Reuters

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