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Storm weakens after scattered damage in South Korea

SEOUL (AP) – Flights and trains resumed and power was mostly restored yesterday after a tropical storm blew through South Korea, which was preparing a pop concert for 40,000 Scouts whose global Jamboree was disrupted by the weather.

Much of Khanun’s damage was concentrated in the country’s southern and eastern regions, where several cities and towns saw 30 to 40 centimetres of rain. Dozens of houses and buildings were damaged, roads were closed and at least one death was reported.

Khanun had weakened by the time it arrived in the densely populated Seoul metropolitan area on Thursday night, and it blew into North Korea early yesterday as a tropical depression.

Officials lifted a nationwide alert over the storm and were channelled much of their administrative resources into throwing a K-pop concert at a Seoul football stadium yesterday evening as the closing event of the World Scout Jamboree.

The event had been held at a coastal campsite before Khanun forced a mass relocation efforts to house the Scouts in university dormitories, government and corporate training centres and hotels in the Seoul region and nearby areas.

No major storm damage has been reported in Seoul, where rain was continuing through the morning. In the nearby port city of Incheon, workers responded to flooded homes and collapsed walls. In the southern inland city of Daegu, a 67-year-old man found near a bloated stream was later pronounced dead and workers were still searching for another person who was swept into a stream while using a wheelchair.

In Gangwon province, a mountainous region on the east coast that was drenched with some of Khanun’s heaviest rain, emergency workers in the seaside cities of Gangneung and Sokcho waded across rivers of brown, thigh-high water covering what used to be streets.

Nearly 16,000 people, mostly in southern regions, had been forced to evacuate from the storm but around 9,700 have returned home as of yesterday, according to the Ministry of the Interior and Safety.

The storm damaged or destroyed at least 64 roads and damaged around 50 homes and buildings. Power was restored to most of the 46,484 homes that lost electricity, the ministry said.

Rescue workers on a boat search for missing people in floodwaters caused by the tropical storm Khanun in Daegu, South Korea. PHOTO: AP
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