Republic of Korea

Rep. of Korea: 18 flood-hit disaster zones to receive special state subsidies

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At least 50 people have died or gone missing from torrential rain that has swept the nation since last weekend, according to the disaster authority on Tuesday (July 18).
The casualty and property damage are feared to increase as more rainfall is expected nationwide through Wednesday.

The rain had claimed 19 lives and left 31 people missing as of 5 p.m. Tuesday. Following the destruction, the government designated 18 cities and counties hit hard by typhoon Ewiniar and heavy seasonal rains, as "special disaster zones" to give further relief.

The areas include Inje, PyeongChang and Hoengseong in Gangwon Province; Jinju, Hadong, Goseong and Hamyang in South Gyeongsang Province; Ulsan; and Gyeongju in North Gyeongsang Province.

The designated cities and counties have priority for special government subsidies and other relief services.

The weather front poured up to 270 millimeters of rain in southern parts of the country.

The Korea Meteorological Administration issued heavy rain warnings in Gangwon, North Jeolla, and North Gyeongsang provinces Tuesday morning, and in North and South Chungcheong, South Jeolla and South Gyeongsang provinces in the afternoon.

The local authorities in Daegu and North Gyeongsang Province issued flood warnings for the Nakdong River, which flows through North and South Gyeongsang provinces and Busan to the South Sea.

It is worried that the rain will aggravate the damage in the southern parts of the nation where typhoon Ewiniar hit hard early this month. The regions are forecast to receive up to 150 millimeters of rain by Wednesday.

In Gangwon Province, more than 3,600 people who were evacuated from their houses are still not able to return to their homes. Dozens of roads are still cut, and 7,700 people in Inje, PyeongChang and Jeongseon are still isolated after roads to their villages were cut off.

The downpour dealt a serious blow to those engaged in the tourism industry in the province, the most beloved summer vacation destination, as the tourism infrastructure there, such as roads, accommodations and entertainment facilities, were all ruined.

Many residents in the coastal areas of the East Sea are distraught, as they earn their living through the summer vacation season. Most holidaymakers usually visit the regions from July 20 through early August, but the damage there cannot be repaired soon.

Major roads to tourist sites were cut. Some areas in PyeongChang, Inje and Yangyang had water service cutoff and were covered with 9,000 tons of rubble and garbage

At Mt. Seorak, the most famous travel destination, Osaek Spring was covered by a landslide. Campsites there were also ruined, with electricity for 12,000 households cut.

Many pensions were swept away or covered with clay. Yongpyeong, a famous ski and leisure resort, reported 10 million won worth of damage after the first floor of its hotel was inundated with water.

Following the flood, the authorities are also paying attention to prevention of epidemics, such as food poisoning, cholera, typhoid and other infectious diseases.