Mammoth storm kills 3 in Korea

2010-09-02 15:44

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Seoul - Typhoon Kompasu struck South Korea early on Thursday, killing three people while it knocked over streetlights and scaffolding in what was called the strongest tropical storm to hit the Seoul area in 15 years.

Powerful gusts knocked over power lines, cutting off power to tens of thousands of homes and forcing airports to cancel or delay dozens of international flights, the National Emergency Management Agency (Nema) said.

The streets of Seoul were littered with beaten tree leaves and branches and toppled construction. Some parked cars were wrecked by scaffolding knocked over by the typhoon.

More than 60 international flights were delayed or cancelled, mostly to and from China, officials at Incheon and Gimpo airports said.

Service on two Seoul subway lines and five railway routes was suspended, Nema officials said.

Casualties

An 80-year-old man died after being hit by a roof tile and a 37-year-old man was killed on his way to work by a falling tree branch, the emergency management agency said.

A 75-year-old man was electrocuted while examining a transformer, and four people were injured by broken glass, it said.

Elementary and middle schools in the capital, Seoul, were ordered to delay the start of the school day by two hours, while all public and private kindergartens were closed for the day, the Seoul Metropolitan Office of Education said.

The storm caused at least $8.3m in damages to a soccer stadium in Incheon, west of Seoul, stadium officials said.

Power was out at more than 60 000 homes along South Korea's west coast, officials said.

Kompasu, the Japanese word for "compass", landed on Ganghwa Island, about 70km west of Seoul, early on Thursday morning, officials said.

Should pass by Thursday

The Korean peninsula is expected to be rid of the typhoon by Thursday evening, but more than 80mm of rain might fall in Seoul and the neighbouring areas on Friday, said the state-run Korea Meteorological Administration.

The typhoon also caused torrential rains and heavy gusts throughout North Korea, the country's state media reported on Thursday. It didn't say whether the typhoon caused any casualties or damages.

Last month, floods swamped farmland, houses and public buildings in the North Korea's north western city of Sinuiju and adjacent areas and displaced more than 23 000 people, according to figures by the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies.

Earlier this week, South Korea's Red Cross offered the North relief aid worth $8.3m.

- SAPA

Read more on:    south korea  |  weather
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