South Korea’s death toll rises after torrential floods

Rescue workers have retrieved the bodies of six people from a submerged tunnel in central South Korea, lifting the death toll from days of torrential rains to 33.

Seo Jeong-il, head of the west Cheongju fire station, said some 15 vehicles, including a bus, are estimated to have been submerged in the flooded underpass in the city.

“We are focusing on the search operation as there’s likely more people there,” Mr Seo said. “We are doing our best to wrap it up today.”

The death toll in the tunnel stood at seven, he said.

Photos and video from the scene showed rescue workers establishing a perimeter and pumping brown water out of the tunnel as divers used rubber boats to move in and out of the area.

The Ministry of Interior and Safety said 10 people were missing as heavy rains caused landslides and floods across the country, with evacuations covering 7866 people.

The ministry data did not include those in the flooded tunnel as it was not immediately clear how many people were trapped underwater.

Korea Railroad Corp has halted all slow trains and some bullet trains since Saturday due to safety concerns over landslides, track flooding and falling rocks.

President Yoon Suk Yeol, who is on a trip to Europe, ordered Prime Minister Han Duck-soo to mobilise all available resources to minimise the casualties, with more heavy rain expected on the Korean peninsula on Sunday.

South Korea has been pounded by heavy rain since July 9. The rainfall has left 27,260 households without electricity for several days while flooding has destroyed dozens of homes, the Ministry of the Interior and Safety said.

-with AP

Topics: South Korea
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