SEOUL: At least nine people have died and another seven are missing in South Korea after record downpours flooded major highways, subway stations and homes, officials said Wednesday.
The rain that began Monday is the heaviest since South Korea’s weather observations began 115 years ago, according to the president. Yoon Suk-yeol, who apologized for the “inconvenience.”
Images shared on social media earlier this week showed people walking through waist-deep water and overflowing subway stations.
Seoul’s posh Gangnam district was particularly hard hit, with cars half submerged.
“There are a total of 16 victims, including nine dead and seven missing,” an Interior Ministry official told AFP.
In all, around 600 people have been affected, he said, with many forced to flee their homes.
Among the nine victims, three died while trapped in their flooded semi-basement apartment, known as floodaccording to the ministry.
Local reports say the victims were a teenage girl, her mother and her aunt.
Another victim died while removing a tree that had fallen onto a sidewalk and is believed to have been electrocuted.
Another died after a landslide buried his home in the mountainous province of Gangwon.
President Yoon, who visited Banjiha’s apartment on Tuesday, acknowledged that South Koreans have “suffered a lot of damage.”
In a separate government meeting, he told officials to pay special attention to the most vulnerable.
“Those who are struggling financially or in physical difficulties are bound to be more vulnerable to natural disasters,” he said.
Yoon’s approval rating has plummeted to just 24 percent since he took office in May, according to the latest galup korea poll. He is facing criticism for not going to the government’s emergency control center when the downpour started.
Local media reported her absence was due to flooding around her home, but her office denied the claim, saying she decided to stay home because her team already had the answer in hand.