Around 3,500 people, mostly in the south of the country, have been evacuated from their homes, according to the Interior and Security Ministry.
One person died in Pohang after being swept away by floodwaters, officials said. Another died in the nearby city of Gyeongju, authorities said later. Ten people are missing, including eight who disappeared in a flooded parking lot in Pohang.
The typhoon disrupted industries across the country, forcing some to suspend operations. Fires broke out at a steel mill in Pohang and its operator, Posco, was investigating whether the typhoon was the cause. Flooding in Pohang also washed away a vacation property, local media reported. The Kori nuclear power plant near the city of Busan has partially suspended operations due to an “anomaly” caused by a typhoon, the Busan Ilbo newspaper reported.
South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol urged residents not to let their guard down, even as the most critical threat appeared to have passed. A timely evacuation had prevented a more serious situation, he said.
The typhoon also hit North Korea, dumping more than 4 inches of rain in dozens of parts of the country in the past two days, Korea’s Central News Agency said on Tuesday.
In apparent response to the downpour, North Korea released water from a dam near its southern border, the South Korean military said. North Korean authorities did not inform the South of the opening of the dam, despite repeated requests from Seoul.
North Korea’s official newspaper Rodong Sinmun called for “maximum preparedness” as the storm approaches, especially in the agricultural sector. “If we fail to prevent the damage caused by typhoons, we will lose the precious crops that we have labored for all spring and summer,” he said. However, the country’s fall crop yield is likely to be affected due to adverse weather conditions this year, North Korean observers said.
A worsening food shortage and widespread malnutrition in this isolated country could aggravate the chronic humanitarian situation. Since North Korea closed its borders at the start of the coronavirus pandemic, almost all international trade has been suspended and foreign aid, including coronavirus vaccines, has barely managed to reach the country. .
Typhoons regularly cross the Pacific between June and November each year. But climate scientists have warned that extreme weather events are becoming more frequent and damaging due to global warming.