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Saturday, 31 August, 2002, 10:06 GMT 11:06 UK
Typhoon triggers Korean landslides
A satellite image of Typhoon Rusa
The eye of the storm moves to the Korean peninsula
A powerful storm has hit South Korea causing fatal landslides, destroying farmland and disrupting flights.

At least one person was killed as a hill collapsed on a road, burying around 10 cars near the eastern coastal city of Gangreung.


The side of the hill suddenly collapsed and buried the cars

Landslide witness
Rescue workers were trying to reach other people believed to be caught in the landslide caused by some of the worst rains in decades.

On Japan's southern island of Okinawa, two US Marines were also reported to have gone missing in massive waves generated by the passage of Typhoon Rusa.

South Korean meteorologists warned that Rusa would be the most powerful storm to hit the country so far this year.

The Yonhap news agency reported that several people were still buried in the landslide in Gangreung, 240 kilometres (150 miles) east of Seoul.

A man stands on top of a car on a flooded road
Kangnung suffered its worst rainfall in more than 90 years
It quoted a witness as saying: "I was driving along the road, and there were 10 cars or so ahead of me. Then the side of the hill suddenly collapsed and buried the cars."

Another landslide buried a man in Kangnung as the town was hit by the heaviest rain in more than 90 years.

The torrential rains in the town 160 kilometres (100 miles) east of Seoul were recorded at 80mm (3.15 inches) per hour.

Residents evacuated their homes as reservoirs reached their limits and paddy fields were flooded.

Elsewhere in Korea:

  • All domestic flights were cancelled
  • Ships were ordered to stay in port
  • All schools were closed
  • On Jeju, the roof was blown off a stadium used for the football World Cup - the second time this has happened in a month
  • 60,000 homes on Jeju suffered power cuts

The typhoon - which dumped up to 657 millimetres (26 inches) of rain on Jeju - was predicted to move north and east to leave the Korean peninsula on Sunday.

Japanese officials said two US Marines were missing in the wake of Typhoon Rusa after being pulled under by giant waves on Okinawa, Japan's southernmost island, the Associated Press news agency reported.

Coastguard official Yasuhiro Arasaki said Lance-Corporals Richard Moore, 24, and Beatriz Rodriguez, 20, were missing after going out to watch the waves on Friday night.

A third Marine, Sergeant Thomas Gordinier, 22, swam to shore sustaining only minor cuts, the agency said.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Nick Serpell
"The typhoon is moving up the East China Sea"
See also:

18 Aug 02 | Asia-Pacific
14 Jul 02 | Asia-Pacific
12 Jul 02 | Asia-Pacific
05 Jul 02 | Asia-Pacific
04 Jul 02 | Asia-Pacific
18 Sep 00 | Science/Nature
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