BBC NEWS Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific Chinese Vietnamese Burmese Thai Indonesian

BBC News World Edition
 You are in: Asia-Pacific  
News Front Page
Middle East
South Asia
Talking Point
Country Profiles
In Depth
BBC Sport
BBC Weather
Tuesday, 3 September, 2002, 04:38 GMT 05:38 UK
Korean typhoon death toll rises
Residents look at cars in mud at Tonghae, east of the capital Seoul
The Rusa typhoon is the worst since 1959
Soldiers in South Korea are continuing efforts to rescue 71 people still missing after the peninsula was battered by its worst typhoon in 40 years.

South Korea's anti-disaster centre said 113 people were confirmed killed after Typhoon Rusa swept through the country over the weekend.

  • Winds hit 204kph (127mph)
  • 89 centimetres (35 inches) of rain
  • 20,000 homes flooded
  • 5,100 hectares (12,600 acres) of farmland flooded

  • Officials are warning that the damage is likely to be the worst in the nation's history.

    Cho Soon-sung, adviser to South Korea's ruling Millennium Democratic party, told the BBC that the clean-up was expected to take at least a month.

    The death toll from the storm is expected to rise as searches continue, warned Kim Jin-young, a director at the National Disaster Prevention Headquarters.

    South Korea's cable network YTN said 215 people were feared to have perished - victims of floods, landslides and collapsing buildings.

    North Korea also reported heavy human losses, with the country's official media - the Korean Central News Agency - saying that "scores" of people were killed.

    Infrastructure damaged

    South Korean President Kim Dae-jung called an emergency cabinet meeting to put the government on disaster alert as the country struggled to cope with the effects of the typhoon.

    South Korean soldiers are mobilised to help with the massive clean-up operation
    Rusa did enormous damage to the country's infrastructure

    Government adviser Mr Cho told the BBC that the typhoon had done enormous damage to the country's infrastructure, including the road and rail systems and the telecommunications network.

    Tens of thousands of people were without electricity after floodwaters and mudslides cut the supplies.

    The southern city of Busan faces the additional problems of having to clear up before the Asian Olympics, due to begin at the end of September.

    Several sports facilities, including part of a field hockey stadium, were severely damaged, the Associated Press news agency reported.

    Rusa, the Malaysian word for deer, is the most powerful storm to hit the Korean peninsula since Typhoon Sarah in 1959, which left more than 840 dead or missing.

    South Korea's anti-disaster centre estimated $700m-worth of property damage.

    'Hell on earth'

    The eastern port city of Kangnung was one of the worst-hit areas.

    South Korean residents stand helplessly looking over their demolished two-storey brick house
    The damage is estimated in hundreds of millions of dollars

    The BBC's Caroline Gluck said it had been almost totally submerged, with water reaching the roofs of houses.

    Landslides there buried buildings and cars and pedestrians waded through waist-high water.

    "This is a hell on earth," 54-year-old housewife Kim Jung-ok told AP as she shovelled mud out of her living room.

    See also:

    01 Sep 02 | Asia-Pacific
    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
    Internet links:

    The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites

    Links to more Asia-Pacific stories are at the foot of the page.

    E-mail this story to a friend

    Links to more Asia-Pacific stories

    © BBC ^^ Back to top

    News Front Page | Africa | Americas | Asia-Pacific | Europe | Middle East |
    South Asia | UK | Business | Entertainment | Science/Nature |
    Technology | Health | Talking Point | Country Profiles | In Depth |