Typhoon Bolaven pounds South Korea leaving 9 dead


A man walks past an airport board announcing that all flights are cancelled following major typhoon Bolaven at Seoul domestic airport in Seoul on August 28, 2012. The state weather agency issued a typhoon warning on early August 28, 2012 for Seoul, the capital of about 10 million people, as the storm named Bolaven continued moving northwards.



Typhoon Bolaven pounded South Korea on Tuesday, killing nine people and smashing two Chinese fishing vessels, according to the Associated Press.

Coast guard rescuers saved 12 of the fisherman, while 10 were still missing from the ships that hit rocks off South Korea's Jeju Island. Officials said five fisherman died, the AP reported.

The typhoon, lashing South Korea with strong winds and heavy rain, also canceled nearly 200 flights and temporarily halted joint war games between the US and South Korean military forces, said the AP.

South Korean news agency Yonhap said the torrential downpours and winds toppled trees, street lights and power lines, cutting power to 200,000 households, according to the National Emergency Management Agency.

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Schools in South Korea's capital, Seoul, were closed, but financial markets and government services operated routinely, Reuters reported.

The storm also hit the souther part of North Korea's west coast. The North had already been pounded by heavy rains in July and August which triggered landslides, killing hundreds and rendering others homeless, said Reuters.

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CNN reported that while Seoul appeared to have been spared the worst part of the typhoon, it would squarely hit Pyongyang.

The AP noted that big rainstorms mean disaster in the North, because of poor drainage, deforestation and an infrastructure that is falling apart. More than 170 died nationwide in the rains in July.

According to Reuters, a second typhoon is expected to hit the peninsula later this week.