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Last Updated: Monday, 15 September, 2003, 08:40 GMT 09:40 UK
Market hit by S Korea typhoon
A cruise ship lies on its side in Pusan
The fierce winds toppled a cruise ship
Shares in some of South Korea's largest companies slumped on Monday morning, as the country counted the cost of a devastating typhoon.

At least 87 people were killed after Typhoon Maemi struck the country on Friday, half-way through the Chuseong five-day holiday.

Twenty-six other people are still unaccounted for.

Crops were ruined and buildings damaged, and the key southern port of Busan - right in the typhoon's path - was hit hard, twisting shipyard cranes out of shape and ravaging goods lined up for export on the waterfront.

Workers stand by collapsed container cranes after Typhoon Maemi at Busan Port, south of Seoul

Typhoon Maemi, or cicada in Korean, dumped up to 453 mm (18 inches) of rain in some areas, triggering massive floods.

Most of the deaths were from electrocution, landslides and drowning.

Some 25,000 people were evacuated from their homes and 1.4 million households were left without power.

By the close of trading on Monday, the Kospi index in Seoul had fallen 1.8% to 753.61 points.

It remains to be seen to what extent the aftermath will damage South Korea's economy.

In the second quarter of the year, the country went into its first recession since the currency meltdown of 1997-8.

One Bank of Korea official told the Reuters news agency the impact would not necessarily be a negative one for the longer term as investment in rebuilding projects could boost the economy.

But he acknowledged the economy would suffer a short-term hit, as the bank rushed to make sure there is enough money available for loaning on easy terms to smaller businesses which need to rebuild and repair.

The government's own disaster spending is initially set at 1.4 trillion won ($1.2bn; 750m), but will almost certainly rise.

The demand for government bonds soared as the stock market sank, and investors headed for safe havens.

Disruption

The typhoon was the strongest since detailed records began 99 years ago.

With Busan badly damaged and now operating at 80% capacity, disruptions are feared as the government estimates it will take more than a year to replace the collapsed cranes.

Meanwhile, companies are switching their exports to smaller ports.

Electronics giant Samsung, for example, normally ships 40% of its goods through Busan - while Hyundai's dockyard saw ship collisions causing damage estimated at more than $10m.

Oil refineries, though, are coming back on-stream following the typhoon, and the main oil firms said they were already back to near-full capacity.


Do you live in the areas affected by the typhoon? We want to hear your experiences. If you have any good photos send them to yourpics@bbc.co.uk

I was in my lab at KJIST Kwangju, returning to my dormitory quite far from the centre of the typhoon, but I could feel the anger and the effect posed by this typhoon. This was the first time I felt so fierce a natural calamity during my stay in Korea. I pray for the well-being of all the affected people.
Farhan Ahmad, South Korea

Much of the damage here in Changwon appeared to be attributed to business signs being torn off buildings, smashing windows as they fell and leaving their tangled mess of aluminium, broken light bulbs and electrical fittings over the streets below. I saw one of the city's best known hotels had lost a large part of its roof and panelling was ripped off some other buildings. Road signs and traffic lights, suspended by long arms reaching over roads, had also shown their vulnerability, as had scaffolding and partly-constructed buildings. Broken roof-tiles, twigs and branches were the commonest things being swept-up next day in my residential area, while some unlucky ones had their car or house windows broken by such air-borne debris.
Aled Powell, Changwon, Korea

I live in the southern city of Chang-won. At the time of the big blast I was in an Irish pub looking out the window when many advertising hoardings were being blown off buildings. A five-star hotel had its roof peeled off and deposited on the roof of the building that I was in, which is actually taller by four floors. The noise of the howling wind was similar to that of avalanches. For those of you who have been in an avalanche you know just how deafening they can be.
John Quirk, Chang-won.

Winds were chaotic: my apartment building was noticeably swaying with each burst. Windows were literally sucked out of my girlfriend's apartment, frames and all. I was simply hoping the glass of windows wouldn't implode upon me.
Devon Rowcliffe, Busan, South Korea

Last night I was stuck in the middle of Typhoon Maemi in the ancient southern city of Gyeong-ju. The typhoon hit the city early in the evening. Rain and high winds were lashing down at an incredible rate, at one point we starting fearing for our lives when the conservatory we were sitting in started swaying violently from side-to-side. Amazingly the only damage was a piece of plastic glass. Travelling around the area today in beautiful sunshine, you could see the damage
David, South Korea

I was caught amongst it but I was on the Eastern coast. The train tracks were washed away up-line from us in the small town of Dogye just before midnight. There were no trains or buses out on Saturday morning since the valley from Dogye to Taebaek had had several hundred millimetres of rain and had brought massive slips across the roads.
Don Royds, South Korea

Like most other families on the Chuseok holiday, (the Harvest Festival, when families traditionally get together), we stayed in last night. Actually, we didn't notice anything out of the ordinary until the power went off around 10:15 pm. It came back on again sometime in the night while we were asleep. The first evidence we saw of the damage was today when we headed down to the beach (at Haeundae, Busan) a couple of kilometres away and saw all the debris on the roads and the beachfront. Several buildings were missing facades and many signs had been knocked over, scattering glass across the roads. I think the death toll might have been much higher if it had been a regular Friday night rather than a holiday.
Peter Lucraft, South Korea

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WATCH AND LISTEN
The BBC's Charles Scanlon
"The ferocity of the storm took everybody by surprise"



SEE ALSO:
In pictures: Typhoon Maemi
13 Sep 03  |  Photo Gallery
S Korea typhoon toll rises
14 Sep 03  |  Asia-Pacific
Typhoon hits south China
02 Sep 03  |  Asia-Pacific
S Korea boosts defence budget
29 Aug 03  |  Business
Nature's lethal weapons
18 Sep 00  |  Science/Nature


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