Parts of Seoul devastated by deadly landslide, 59 confirmed dead, another 14 missing
The Buddhist Channel, July 30, 2011
Many Buddhist temples and Korea's only Buddhist television station, BTN also effected
Seoul, South Korea -- Tens of thousands of South Korean troops joined a massive clean-up Thursday after record-breaking rainfall killed at least 59 people, flooded hundreds of homes and turned main roads into muddy rivers.
<< The July 28 Korean floods and landslides caused havocand devastation to much of Seoul
Some 40,000 soldiers with heavy equipment have joined more than 4,000 police in recovery efforts, the defence ministry said.
The capital Seoul, home to around 10 million people, was hit by 473.5 millimeters (nearly 19 inches) of rain on Tuesday, Wednesday and early Thursday.
Wednesday's deluge of 301.5 mm was the highest July daily figure since records began and turned main roads in Seoul into rivers of churning, muddy water dotted with the roofs of submerged cars. Drivers abandoned vehicles to run to safety.
Sixteen people were killed in southern Seoul after landslides from Mount Umyeon - home of Seoul Arts Center and numerous Buddhist temples - hit nearby leafy residential areas, the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) said.
Many Buddhist temples are cut off due to blocked roads and washed away bridges >>
NEMA said at least 14 people were still missing.
Most roads were reopened Thursday as the deluge turned to drizzle. But 32 roads and bridges in and around Seoul were still closed as the clean-up began.
Mechanical diggers clawed away at a mass of fallen branches and mud while soldiers and others hauled debris away, TV pictures showed.
Local Buddhist media, the Buddhist Television Network (BTN) was not spared when their 9 story office block was inundated with mud and flood waters. A staff member was seriously injured and is now under observation at an Intensive Care Unit (ICU).
According to BTN reports, many temples in and around the foothills of Mt Umyeon have been cut off by the landslides, with scenes of bridges washed away by floods a common sight.
<< Korea's only Buddhist Television Network (BTN), was also badly affected
Volunteers from the Jogye Buddhist order consisting of more than 100 emergency dispatch relief workers have been sent to assist the affected temples.
A spokesperson from the Jogye emergency dispatch relief have requested assistance for urgent materials such as food and bottled water, batteries and lanterns in aid of those affected by the tragedy.
They are also requesting help for supplies of sandbags to prevent further soil erosion along steep slopes due to broken embankments, fallen trees and rock falls, which have blocked road access to many of the temples.
"We continue to be concerned about further collapse of sediments, and the difficulty involved in bringing heavy machineries to the affected areas. This have hampered our recovery operations," the spokesperson added.
As of press time, it is not yet determined how many temples have been affected, or how many monks and their helpers are still trapped in the mountains.