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April 13, 2024

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sk    South Korea   

South Korea, an East Asian nation on the southern half of the Korean Peninsula, shares one of the world’s most heavily militarized borders with North Korea. It’s equally known for its green, hilly countryside dotted with cherry trees and centuries-old Buddhist temples, plus its coastal fishing villages, sub-tropical islands and high-tech cities such as Seoul, the capital. ― Google

Capital: Seoul

Dialing code: +82

President: Moon Jae-in

Currency: South Korean won

Population: 51.78 million (2020) World Bank

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Seoul, South Korea - At least 22 people have tragically lost their lives due to devastating flooding in South Korea, as unrelenting torrential rainfall continues to pummel central areas of the country. The deluge, now in its third day, has triggered landslides and caused a major dam in the central North Chungcheong province to overflow, exacerbating the crisis.

The heavy downpour has submerged roads, swept away cars, and disrupted railways, further impeding rescue efforts and exacerbating the perilous situation. Rescue teams are currently working tirelessly to locate and save those who remain missing, with 14 individuals still unaccounted for at present. Moreover, thousands of residents have been forced to evacuate their homes in the face of the imminent danger posed by the floods.

North Gyeongsang province has been particularly hard-hit, with most of the casualties occurring in this region as landslides ravaged the mountainous areas, demolishing homes in their wake. According to an emergency responder, entire houses have been "swept away whole" in the most severely affected areas.

Recognizing the gravity of the situation, Prime Minister Han Duck-soo has requested the assistance of the military to bolster ongoing rescue operations. The involvement of the armed forces aims to augment the existing resources and provide aid to those in urgent need.

Authorities have reported that 19 cars have been submerged in an underground tunnel in the central Chungcheong province, raising concerns about a potential increase in the number of fatalities. The harrowing incident underscores the danger posed by the relentless flooding and the urgent need for rescue and relief efforts.

Thousands of individuals have been affected by evacuation orders issued by various local governments, disrupting the lives of countless families across the affected regions. In Goesan, around 6,400 residents were forced to evacuate after the Goesan Dam surpassed its capacity and began overflowing, submerging nearby villages and the connecting roadways. This dire situation has left some residents trapped within their homes, awaiting assistance.

The impact of the floods extends beyond the immediate danger, with transportation networks suffering severe disruptions. Korail, the national rail operator, has announced the suspension of all slow trains and some bullet trains, while other bullet train services will face disruptions. Additionally, a train in North Chungcheong derailed late on Friday after a landslide showered the tracks with earth and sand. Fortunately, no passengers were aboard the train during the incident, although one engineer sustained injuries.

The Korea Meteorological Administration has forecasted more rainfall in the affected regions until next Wednesday, sounding the alarm that the weather conditions pose a "grave" danger. Recent weeks have witnessed devastating floods and landslides in several countries, including India, China, and Japan. Scientists point to climate change as a contributing factor, as a warming atmosphere has the capacity to hold increased moisture, heightening the likelihood of extreme rainfall events.

As South Korea continues to grapple with the aftermath of these catastrophic floods, the focus remains on rescue operations, providing relief to affected communities, and implementing measures to mitigate future risks. The resilience of the Korean people, combined with the concerted efforts of emergency responders and the support of neighboring nations, will be crucial in navigating this dire situation and aiding the affected population in their path to recovery.

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Humanitarian Impact
  6,400
      Affected Persons
  6,400
        Displaced Persons
  22
        Deaths

OCHA coordinates the global emergency response to save lives and protect people in humanitarian crises.

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