Army drafted in as storms batter Seoul; 53 dead or missing

July 28, 2011 07:08

SEOUL - At least 53 people are dead or missing after the heaviest rains in a century lashed the South Korean capital Seoul and surrounding areas, officials said on Thursday, with damage expected to run into hundreds of millions of dollars.

More rain battered the mountainous region on Thursday prompting authorities to draft in the military to help with rescue and clean-up operations.

"We have asked the Defense Ministry and police to help because the torrential rains and floods need to be controlled in cooperative nationwide system," an emergency services spokesman said.

More than half a meter (19.5 inches) of rain has fallen in the Seoul region since late Tuesday, the weather bureau said, in the heaviest deluge for July since 1907. Landslides were reported around the capital and streams turned into raging torrents, flooding low-lying areas and swamping thousands of cars.

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