4 Aug 2020

Three NZers killed in landslide in South Korea

10:43 pm on 4 August 2020

Three New Zealanders have been killed in South Korea after flash flooding and landslides on Monday, local time.

An aerial view shows a damage to a village following a landslide amid heavy rain in the village of Juksan-myeon, near Anseong on August 4, 2020. -

An aerial view shows a damage to a village following a landslide amid heavy rain in the village of Juksan-myeon, near Anseong. Photo: AFP

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade has confirmed three New Zealand citizens have died in the landslide.

RNZ understands they are two New Zealand-Korean women and a two-year old boy, who was of Korean and Māori descent.

MFAT and the New Zealand Embassy in Seoul are both responding to the incident.

The Korea Times is reporting the New Zealanders were confirmed dead after a mudslide engulfed a resort in Gapyeong county in the Gyeonggi Province.

It reports they are a 65-year-old woman, a 36-year-old woman, and a two-year-old boy.

Heavy rains in South Korea displace more than 1000, 13 dead

It is South Korea's longest spell of monsoon rain in seven years and has caused floods that have forced more than 1000 people to leave their homes, killing at least 13, with another 13 missing, authorities said.

Deaths were reported from landslides and vehicles swept away by waters that disaster officials said inundated more than 5751 hectares of farmland and flooded parts of key highways and bridges in the capital, Seoul.

President Moon Jae-in expressed concern for citizens and public workers battling the coronavirus pandemic in the face of 42 days of monsoon rains, which weather officials said was the longest such stretch since 49 days of rain in 2013.

"I call for preventive checks and proactive precautionary measures to the level that could be deemed excessive," Moon told an emergency meeting.

He also urged "all-out efforts to prevent further loss of life" by national and regional authorities, such as action to avert landslides or evacuate people, even in cases of little apparent danger.

Work crews also returned to operation by Tuesday most of the flooded roads and bridges along the Han River in central Seoul that had backed up traffic and damaged infrastructure, the Yonhap news agency said.

In neighbouring North Korea, state media warned of possible flooding, saying that some areas were also experiencing heavy rainfall.

Citing unidentified South Korean government sources, Yonhap said North Korea opened the floodgates of a border dam on Monday without advance notice to its neighbour.

RNZ / Reuters