39 people have died in South Korea’s floods, and Yoon is blaming botched responses

39 people have died as a result of days of severe rain in South Korea, including 12 who were discovered dead in a submerged underpass, according to President Yoon Suk Yeol of that country. He blamed the inability of authorities to implement disaster response guidelines.

Authorities and local media said that eight more bodies were found on Sunday after being stuck in a tunnel in central South Korea that had been drowned by heavy rain. With these eight bodies, the country’s death toll from days of torrential downpours has now reached 35.

Seo Jeong-il, the head of the west Cheongju fire station, reported that a bus was among the estimated 15 vehicles that were drowned under the city’s underpass shortly after the Saturday afternoon downpours completely wrecked the levee of a nearby river.

MBC, a local channel, presented CCTV footage that showed murky water pouring into the tunnel as cars passed by with their wheels submerged.

Seo informed the media, “We are concentrating on the search operation as there are probably more people there.” “We are working very hard to get it done today.”

Nine people have died in the tunnel, including one whose body was found on Saturday, according to the Yonhap news agency in South Korea.

10 people were reported missing by the Ministry of Interior and Safety on Sunday morning due to landslides and flooding brought on by severe rains, while 7,866 people were under evacuation orders.

Since it was unclear how many people were submerged at the time, the ministry statistics did not include those in the flooded tunnel.

The latest disaster occurred despite South Korea’s promise to improve preparedness against torrential downpours in the wake of Seoul’s floods last year, which were brought on by the heaviest downpours. Subterranean apartments in low-lying districts, including the predominately affluent Gangnam district, have been submerged for 115 years.

According to a survivor of the inundated tunnel, the authorities ought to have prohibited use of the underpass when flooding was predicted, according to a story in Yonhap.

Before the amount of precipitation required to prohibit entrance to the tunnel was reached, according to a North Chungcheong province official, the levee unexpectedly fell.

President Yoon Suk-yeol, who is currently traveling abroad, called a video-linked reaction meeting and said that several regions had not taken preventative action against the inclement weather.

Yoon instructed Prime Minister Han Duck-soo to mobilize all available resources to reduce casualties, and his administration requested the weather agency issue projections as soon as possible because additional intense rain was anticipated in the ensuing days.

By Tuesday, the central and southern regions of the nation might get an extra 300 millimeters (12 inches) of rain, according to the Korea Meteorological Administration.

Although South Korea regularly receives summertime downpours, there has recently been a substantial rise in torrential downpours.

Since Saturday, all slow trains and some bullet trains have been suspended by Korea Railroad Corp. because of safety worries about landslides, track floods, and falling debris.

According to scientists, climate change has increased the frequency and extremeness of weather events worldwide.

Over 11 people died as a result of the record-breaking rains and flooding that South Korea experienced last year.

Three of them perished while stranded in a basement apartment in Seoul, the kind that gained notoriety worldwide because of the Oscar-winning Korean movie “Parasite.”

The government claimed that the floods in 2022 had the greatest rainfall in Seoul in the 115 years of weather records, and it attributed the catastrophic weather to climate change.

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