South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol has ordered an all-out rescue and recovery effort after days of torrential rains unleashed devastating floods and landslides that killed at least 39 people.
The death toll on Monday included 13 people found dead in a submerged underpass in the central city of Cheongju in North Chungcheong Province.
Yoon, on his return to Seoul following a trip to Ukraine, convened an intra-agency meeting on the disaster response and called for authorities to make the utmost effort to rescue victims.
“There is no way to suppress my sadness. I pray for the souls of those killed in the heavy rains and offer words of comfort to the bereaved families,” the president said.
“We all need to take the situation gravely and mobilise all available resources.” Yoon also pledged support for recovery work, including designating affected areas as special disaster zones.
South Korea, which is at the peak of its summer monsoon season, has been battered by heavy rains since July 9. The downpours have caused widespread flooding and landslides, mostly in the country’s central and southern regions.
In Cheongju, rescue workers pulled four more bodies overnight from a tunnel where some 16 vehicles, including a bus, were swamped by a flash flood after a levee of a nearby river collapsed.
Written by: Kevin Nwabueze