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4 killed as typhoon lashes S. Korea

Typhoon

Seoul, Oct 3 (UITV/IANS)- Four people were killed as Typhoon Mitag lashed the southern and eastern regions of South Korea with heavy rain and strong winds, authorities said on Thursday.

The casualties are feared to grow further as four people are presumed to have been buried due to a landslide in Busan city, Yonhap news agency reported citing officials.

The typhoon -- the 18th so far in the Pacific this typhoon season -- made its landfall in Haenam county on Wednesday night and swept eastward over the Korean Peninsula until reaching the East Sea as a tropical storm on Thursday morning, according to the Korea Meteorological Administration (KMA).

One of the victims was a 70-year-old woman who died early on Thursday after being knocked over by strong gusts of wind in Pohang city.

A landslide caused by heavy rains in the city of Samcheok levelled the wall of a residence, killing a woman who was sleeping inside. A similar incident in Yeongdeok took another life, according to official data from disaster management officials cited by Yonhap news agency.

The fourth person known to have been killed by the typhoon was a 76-year-old man who was trundled by the powerful winds in the rural village of Seongju, North Gyeongsang province.

Two people also went missing amid heavy rains and several others suffered injuries, authorities said, adding that more than 1,500 people on Jeju island and other southeastern regions were evacuated to emergency shelters.

A sightseeing train in Bonghwa, North Gyeongsang province, derailed due to a landslide and more than a dozen sections of streets were closed because of heavy rain.

The mid-strength typhoon, the seventh to affect the Korean Peninsula this year, brought heavy rain and high winds to the southern regions even before making landfall. Several regions experienced record high levels of precipitation.

In Ulijin county, the volume of rain reached 104.5 millimetre per hour, the highest ever recorded since the Korean Meteorological Agency began compiling this type of data in 1971. The city of Donghae saw 67.4 mm of rain per hour, marking the highest figure since 1992.

More than 44,000 homes suffered power outages due to the typhoon. Power to some 82 per cent of them was restored, reports say.

Prime Minister Lee Nak-yon called for the full employment of personnel and equipment available to rescue those buried in a landslide incident in Busan and safety measures to be taken in the aftermath of the typhoon, according to his office.