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Storm Brings Record Rain to South Korea; 85 Dead

July 22, 1987|Associated Press

SEOUL, South Korea — A fierce storm brought a record one-day rainfall to South Korea today, unleashing floods and landslides that officials said killed at least 85 people and injured 150.

The storm, the second killer tempest to hit the country in less than a week, also left 35 people missing, officials at the Counter-Disaster Center said.

Tens of thousands of people were evacuated from low-lying areas and at least 4,000 were left homeless.

Weather officials said the central village of Sochun received 22 1/2 inches of rain in less than 24 hours, setting a record for the most rainfall in a day on any spot in South Korea since records began in 1907.

The rainfall in the central part of the country amounted to about half of South Korea's total yearly precipitation, weather officials said.

"I have never seen terrible rains like this during my entire life," KBS television quoted a 72-year-old man in Puyo as saying.

Officials said the casualty toll is expected to rise sharply and also warned that Tropical Storm Vernon, downgraded from typhoon status after hitting Taiwan, is expected to reach South Korea on Thursday.

"It's from bad to worse," one official at the Counter-Disaster Center said, referring to Typhoon Thelma that struck South Korea's coast July 15-16. That storm left 123 people dead and 212 others missing.

The new heavy rains triggered landslides and collapsed bridges, reservoirs and embankments, blocking roads and rail tracks, officials said.

Television footage showed vast rice paddies and residential areas submerged by water.

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