Monsoon Wreaking Havoc in South Korea With Flooding Rains


South Korea is in the middle of one of its wettest monsoon seasons in recent history.

So far, the relentless rains have claimed the lives of at least 18 people. Another 16 are currently missing.

Downpours Have Been Ravaging Areas of South Korea for 44 Consecutive Days

The central region of the country has already seen 44 consecutive days of rain. That makes this the country’s longest monsoon in seven years, according to Reuters. Central South Korea’s longest monsoon season on record was 49 days in 2013.

Downpours began raining down Saturday, and have ravaged Seoul and Gyeonggi, North Chungcheong, South Chungcheong, and the Gangwon provinces. Some areas received upwards of 26 inches of rain.

The capital city of Seoul recorded rainfall each day this month so far, adding up to a whopping 11 inches in just a week. The capital issued its first flood alert in nine years.

However, that number could be overshadowed very soon. Another round of heavy rains is coming to soak the region, thanks to the remnants of Tropical Storm Hagupit. Seoul stands to get another 6 inches of rain over the weekend.

Central South Korea could potentially see even more — up to a foot of rain over the weekend.

People Displaced as Homes and Other Property Left Damaged or Destroyed

The rains flooded nearly 1,500 residential buildings. There has been a total of 5,177 incidents of property damage. Close to 5,000 people have been forced out of their homes in affected areas, but finding shelter for everyone amid the coronavirus pandemic has proven challenging.

“I was a bit concerned about the coronavirus,” said Kim Soo-goon, whose home was hit by a landslide. “But there is no alternative given the situation.”

Over 31 square miles of farmland was flooded, with over 1,000 barns and storage facilities left damaged.

Major highways in Seoul are also closed because of flooding.

The heavy downpours have already claimed the lives of at least 18 people as of Thursday evening, while another 16 people have been reported missing. Those numbers were reported by the Korea Herald, who cited figures from the Central Disaster and Safety Countermeasure Headquarters.

A family from New Zealand lost three members after a landslide hit their vacation cottage in Gyeonggi Provice, northeast of Seoul.

A man in his 50s was found in Hongcheon, Gangwon Province, four days after he went missing.

Three boats capsized on Thursday near Uiam Dam in Chuncheon, Gangwon Province. Five rescue workers were swept over the dam as they were trying to help. A total of eight people were aboard the boats: one person died, two were rescued, and the other five are missing.