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Home Breaking Rescue Efforts Underway as Flooding Claims Lives in South Korea

Rescue Efforts Underway as Flooding Claims Lives in South Korea

Tragedy struck as torrential rains caused widespread flooding and landslides, leaving at least 33 people dead and 10 others missing in South Korea. Rescue teams have been battling to reach those trapped, with one particularly challenging operation involving a flooded tunnel.

The nation is currently experiencing the peak of its summer monsoon season, and heavy rainfall over the past four days has resulted in a major dam overflowing. The country’s interior ministry reported the loss of 33 lives, primarily due to landslides and individuals falling into flooded reservoirs.

One of the most pressing rescue missions is focused on a 430-meter (1,410-foot) underground tunnel in Cheongju, North Chungcheong province. The tunnel was inundated on Saturday morning when floodwaters surged in rapidly, leaving those inside with little opportunity to escape, according to the Yonhap news agency. As of Sunday, seven bodies have been recovered from the tunnel, and divers are working tirelessly to locate additional victims.

Heartbreaking stories have emerged from the tragedy. A parent of one of the missing individuals in the tunnel expressed their anguish, saying, “I have no hope, but I can’t leave. My heart wrenches thinking how painful it must have been for my son in the cold water.”

Local television broadcasts captured images of the torrential stream of water from a nearby river bursting its banks and flooding into the tunnel. Rescue workers have faced immense challenges, utilizing boats to access and assist those trapped inside.

President Yoon Suk Yeol, who is currently abroad, held an emergency meeting with his aides to address the government’s response to the heavy rains and flooding. Prime Minister Han Duck-soo has been instructed to mobilize all available resources to minimize further casualties.

Most of the casualties, including 17 of the deceased and nine of the missing, have been reported in North Gyeongsang province. The mountainous region experienced massive landslides that engulfed houses and trapped residents inside. Additionally, individuals swept away by an overflowing river in the province have been reported missing.

The forecast indicates more rainfall until Wednesday, prompting the Korea Meteorological Administration to issue a warning of “grave” danger from the ongoing weather conditions.

South Korea is no stranger to summer monsoon flooding, but the country is typically well-prepared, resulting in lower death tolls. However, scientists attribute the increasing frequency and intensity of such weather events worldwide to climate change.

Last year, South Korea endured record-breaking rains and flooding, which claimed the lives of more than 11 people. Among the victims were three individuals trapped in a basement apartment in Seoul, reminiscent of the acclaimed film “Parasite.” At that time, the government attributed the extreme weather to climate change, stating it was the heaviest rainfall since Seoul began keeping weather records 115 years ago.

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