Republic of Korea - Typhoon Maemi OCHA Situation Report No. 1

from UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs
Published on 15 Sep 2003
Ref: OCHA/GVA - 2003/0127
OCHA Situation Report No. 1
Republic of Korea - Typhoon Maemi
occurred on 12 September 2003

This report is based on information provided by the RDRA in Kobe, the UN Resident Coordinator's Office in Seoul, IFRC, and media reports.

I Situation, Damage and Needs

1. Southern and southeastern parts of Korea were battered by a strong typhoon starting Friday evening, triggering landslides and floods, before dissipating over the Sea of Japan early Sunday. According to official figures and media reports, 87 people have died and some 28 are missing, feared dead. Some media reports indicate that the death toll is likely to rise to more than 120 as rescue efforts continue. According to the Government of Korea anti-disaster centre, South Gyeongsang Province is the worst affected with 53 estimated dead.

Of about 25,000 people who were forced to evacuate their homes, about 7,000 remain in schools and public facilities. The Korean Peninsula is usually hit by typhoons at this time of year.

2. The government's disaster office said about 16,000 hectares of farmland, including rice paddies and orchards were flooded, raising concerns of a future price rise.

3. With wind speeds of 216 kilometres per hour in some regions, Typhoon Maemi has severely affected key industrial sectors: it brought down electricity lines, forcing five nuclear power stations to suspend operations and affecting 1.47 million households, destroyed 2,218 communication centres, sank 18 ships and 82 moored fishing boats, toppled huge cranes in the port, and paralysed road, rail and air transport.

4. The government's anti disaster centre estimates the property damage at tens of billions of South Korean Won (KRW) while news reports predict that total damage will run as high as KRW 1 trillion (USD 862 million).

II National and International Response

5. The Government of Korea plans to declare typhoon-hit areas in the southern part of the country as special disaster zones to ensure a quick recovery by supporting rehabilitation and relief work. To this effect, it has earmarked KRW 1.4 trillion (USD 1.2 billion) for compensation and rescue operations. Some 10,000 soldiers and more than 18,000 police officers have been mobilized for rescue activities.

6. The Agriculture Ministry has allocated over 3,000 machines for the restoration of facilities, including sewage and sanitation systems.

7. President Roh Moo-hyun made a one-day visit on 14 September to the southeastern port city of Busan, the country's second largest city and one of the hardest-hit areas.

8. The Korean Red Cross (KNRC) has run a non-stop relief operation since the beginning of the disaster. The Society provided relief goods and meals for evacuated people in the affected areas.

9. The Government of the Republic of Korea has not requested international assistance.

10. OCHA is in close contact with the UN Resident Coordinator in Seoul and the RDRA in Kobe, and will revert with further information, when it becomes available.

11. This situation report, together with further information on ongoing emergencies, is also available on the OCHA Internet Website at

MAP - Republic of Korea: Typhoon Maemi - Situation Map

Telephone: +41-22-917 12 34
Fax: +41-22-917 00 23

In case of emergency only: Tel. +41-22-917 20 10

Desk Officers:
Mr. Rudolf M=FCller/ Ms. Héloïse Ruaudel
Direct Tel. +41-22-917 31 31/17 69

Press contact:
(GVA) - Ms. Elizabeth Byrs, direct Tel. +41-22-917 26 53
(N.Y.) - Ms. Stephanie Bunker, direct Tel. +1-212-963 87 40

UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs:
To learn more about OCHA's activities, please visit