At least 41 die in South Korea deluge


A South Korean soldier (C) escorts isolated residents through floodwaters and mud after a flood caused by heavy rains hit the area around an apartment complex in Seoul on July 28, 2011.



Flash floods and landslides in South Korea have killed at least 41 people and 12 are missing as the capital braces for more rain, Xinhua news agency reports.

Emergency workers were battling to help rescue people caught in flooded homes amid a record deluge in Seoul.

The heaviest July rain on record wreaked havoc in a residential area in the city's south, triggering a mudslide that claimed 16 lives while another 13 perished when a hillside gave way near Chuncheon, 50 miles to the east, Bloomberg reports.

“We’re worried that even a little bit more rain could cause further landslides because the soil is so wet now,” said Cho Ju Young, head of the disaster management team at the Ministry of Knowledge Economy.

“People need to keep watching the situation closely.”

Some bridges over the main Han River, which runs through the center of Seoul, were closed. Heavy rain has also caused rivers to burst their banks, disrupted travel and triggered power outages, Xinhua reports.

At a resort village in Chuncheon, 60 miles east of Seoul, university students at a summer camp for children were asleep when a landslide engulfed their lodgings about midnight on Tuesday.

Most of the 13 people found dead in the mud were university students, the police said, The New York Times reports.

South Korea has had at least 60 percent more rain this month than in the same period in July last year, according to the weather bureau.

Seoul recorded 21 inches of rain between midnight July 26 and 9:30 a.m. today, the most on record for a 60-hour period in July, said Lee Hyun Gyu, a spokesman at the Korea Meteorological Administration.

However, up 120 millimeters is expected in the capital tomorrow, he said.

Almost 4,600 South Koreans have been evacuated from flooded homes and about 1200 were sheltering in public buildings and churches nearby.About 1600 acres of farmland was also flooded, Bloomberg reports.