At least eight people were killed in Seoul on Monday after record downpours flooded homes, roads and subway stations in the South Korean capital, cutting power and forcing hundreds to evacuate, according to authorities.
South Korea’s Interior and Safety Ministry said three of those who died had been trapped in a flooded semi-basement. Nine others were injured and at least seven people remain missing, the ministry said.
Since midnight Monday local time, parts of Seoul saw a total of 422 millimeters of rain, prompting authorities to raise the highest Level 3 emergency alert. The city recorded 141.5 millimeters of rain per hour.
Due the torrential rains South Korea has been experiencing over the last 24 hours, parts of the Seoul subway are now flooding. We need to seriously plan for flood resiliency in our transit systems. Praying for everyone in South Korea today. pic.twitter.com/FZzn8Oynsm
— Hayden Clarkin (@the_transit_guy) August 8, 2022
— peche (@pechemiti) August 8, 2022
Update: 7 people have been killed and 6 are missing. Family of 3 was killed in the outskirts of Seoul because their home was quickly inundated by a flash flood, and they couldn’t escape. This won’t be letting up for another 2 days… #SouthKorea #flood pic.twitter.com/WZFXmH6dzm
— Michael Steinberg (@MichaelWX18) August 9, 2022
Though floodwaters had largely receded by Tuesday morning, cars and buses were left strewn across roads and sidewalks, blocking morning traffic.
In some parts of Seoul, drains backed up and sent water pouring back into streets and subway stations, according to the Seoul Metro. A number of subway stations were closed due to flooding, with lines temporarily suspended Monday night. As of Tuesday morning, authorities were still working to reopen the stations.
Several regions south of the Han River were worst affected, including the wealthy, modern Gangnam district where some buildings and stores were flooded and lost power.
About 800 residents were evacuated to schools and gyms or voluntarily sought shelter in local community centers as flooding affected more than 700 houses and shops, according to authorities.
South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol sent his condolences to the victims on Tuesday, saying he would conduct an on-site inspection and work to prevent additional damage.
He also pointed out the need to review the country’s disaster management system, since extreme weather is expected to become increasingly common due to the climate crisis.