At least 5 dead, 1 missing as heavy rains hit central and southern regions

Firefighters carry stranded residents as part of the evacuation of 36 villagers in Yongchon-dong in Seo District, Daejeon, after overnight rains flooded the area on Wednesday. Firefighters mobilized 13 pieces of equipment and 73 personnel to rescue residents. (NEWS1)

At least five people have died and one person is missing in heavy rains in the central and southern regions overnight Tuesday into Wednesday, according to the regional fire department. Floods and landslides have destroyed homes and damaged roads.

In South Chungcheong, a woman in her 60s was found under rubble at around 1:50 p.m., three hours after reports she had been buried in a landslide. Similarly, a 72-year-old man was found after his house collapsed in a landslide in Seocheon at around 4 a.m.

The two both suffered cardiac arrest and were taken to hospital, where they were pronounced dead on arrival.

At around 3 a.m., heavy rains flooded a studio apartment building in Nonsan, South Chungcheong. A man was trapped in a flooded elevator and died.

Heavy downpours hit South Chungcheong on Wednesday morning, with Seocheon receiving 111.5mm of rain per hour at one point in the early morning

Between midnight and 3 p.m., regional fire services received 940 reports of rain damage, including flooding of homes and disruption to roads.

Firefighters evacuate people in Yongchon-dong, Seo District, Daejeon, after rains flooded the area on Wednesday night. (NEWS1)

Firefighters evacuate people in Yongchon-dong, Seo District, Daejeon, after rains flooded the area on Wednesday night. (NEWS1)

In Daegu, a farmer in his 60s drowned after being sucked into a drainage system while inspecting his fields.

Twenty-seven villagers in the region were evacuated to a nearby school after their village in Dong district was destroyed by torrential rains.

In North Chungcheong, a man in his 70s died after his car plunged into a swollen river at around 5 a.m. He was returning from inspecting his cattle shed at the time of the accident.

Rescuers were also searching for a 71-year-old man who went missing after the shipping container he was living in was damaged by heavy rain in Yeongdong, North Chungcheong.

On Wednesday morning, the country was hit by record-breaking downpours, with only the northern parts of Greater Seoul and the northern parts of Gangwon spared.

According to the Korea Meteorological Administration (KMA), more than 200 millimeters of rain fell in many southern regions last night.

A record 131.7 millimeters of rain fell in Gunsan, North Jeolla, the heaviest hourly rainfall ever recorded in the country.

This amount represents more than 10 percent of the city’s average annual rainfall.

“It was a severity that we only see once in 200 years,” said a weather bureau official.

Sudden heavy rain early Wednesday morning also destroyed roads and caused flooding in many areas, leaving people trapped in buildings.

In Daejeon, about 36 villagers were trapped in Yongchon-dong after floods ravaged the district.

In Wanju, North Jeolla, rescuers have evacuated 18 people trapped by a swollen river, with some waiting on rooftops for help.

Twenty people were rescued in Yeongdong, North Chungcheong, while about 50 households were evacuated to nearby schools due to possible flooding of reservoirs and streams.

The torrential rains also led to the cancellation of 21 flights at Gimhae International Airport in the southeastern port city of Busan and delays to 16 other flights.

All train services on the Janghang Line in South Chungcheong and the Gyeongbuk Line in North Gyeongsang are suspended until 6:00 p.m.

In addition, 15 new reports of damage to cultural heritage following the flood were made on Wednesday.

A calm morning is expected on Thursday morning, followed by more monsoon rains from Thursday evening into Friday morning, accompanied by strong winds.

Update, July 10: The death toll and other details were updated throughout the story.

BY WOO JI-WON ([email protected])