(Update 1: updates casualties, adds details)
Seoul, Jul 15 (EFE).- The heavy monsoon rains that have lashed South Korea in recent days have killed at least 10 people so far, while thousands have been evacuated, apart from damaging key infrastructure, authorities said Saturday.
Authorities fear that the death toll could rise, as a rainstorm alert was in place for the entire country.
Nine of the deaths were caused by landslides across localities in central and southwestern parts of the country, such as Yeongju, Bonghwa, Sejong, Nonsan, Cheongyang and Cheongju.
One person was killed in Cheongju – around 100 kilometers southeast of Seoul – after drowning in a flooded tunnel.
Firefighters managed to rescue eight others who were trapped in their vehicles inside the same tunnel, where water rose quickly and submerged the passage.
Local news agency Yonhap said that more deaths may have taken place at the tunnel.
Meanwhile around 6,400 residents of the Goesan county and the city of Chungju in the country’s central part have been evacuated after a dam in the area began to overflow.
Around 1,500 others have also been moved to safer areas in different parts of the country, where nearly 100 roads have been cut off.
Power cuts have also been reported in a dozen localities, while railway services have been affected in central South Korea, an area where alerts remain in place for torrential rains. Train services, including high-speed ones, are currently suspended in this region.
The Japan Meteorological Agency has maintained a high-alert for rains across the country, with special warning for central and southwestern regions, saying heavy rains could continue until Jul. 19. EFE