The Monsoon season “supposedly” finished in Korea last week and yet it has continued to rain, non-stop, for the last few days. Over 400 mm (over 15 inches) of rain pelted Seoul between Tuesday night and Wednesday, breaking all previous records. The last 3 days has seen the highest record of rainfall in over 100 years, with 3/4 of the usual ANNUAL rainfall falling in the last 24 hours in Seoul!!
At first it was frustrating. Walking to school in the rain, always having wet feet, been unable to go do fun, touristy things on my last days in Korea. Now, however, it has gone from frustrating to worrying. 44 people, a number which appears to be increasing hourly, have lost their lives to the floods including 10 College students who died in a landslide yesterday. In Seoul, streets turned into gushing rivers, with water falls popping up, shops and houses inundated with water and many subway stations closing due to the flooding.
Last night a taxi ride that should take 20 minutes took well over an hour as the main road from Munsan to Geumchon was totally flooded. Areas of both towns were closed to traffic after the water levels continued to climb. Driving through the floods was a bizarre experience, almost like driving in the ocean with waves of water spraying up either side of the taxi. At one stage water started dripping down through the light inside the car!!
Many of my friends who are also teachers were told their schools were closed today for a “Rain Day”. Like a snow day, but much much wetter. Some had still had to go to work, spending hours bailing water out of their flooded school with buckets.
One friend was stuck at the airport for hours unsure how to get to Munsan. Phone lines were down, power was cut in many places and public transport stopped running in the worst affected areas. It appears to have stopped raining now, but sadly the destruction is already done. Lives lost and hundreds of millions of dollars worth of flood damage with hundreds left homeless around the city.