S. Koreans on landmine alert after deadly mudslides

About 10 landmines have not been recovered; damage from storms seen at hundreds of millions of dollars.

By REUTERS
July 28, 2011 12:06
1 minute read.

South Korea mudslide 311 R. (photo credit: REUTERS/Truth Leem/Israel Picture Service)

 
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SEOUL - South Koreans were cautioned about rogue landmines and explosives on Thursday after a series of deadly landslides in and around the capital Seoul swamped military sites, defense officials said.

At least 67 people are dead or missing from the landslides and flashfloods caused by the heaviest rainfalls in a century to hit the Seoul region, home to about 25 million people.

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The damage bill is expected to run into hundreds of millions of dollars.

The Defense Ministry said about 10 landmines buried near an air defense artillery unit on a mountain in southern Seoul had not been recovered after a mudslide in the area smashed into dozens of homes on Wednesday.

The mines were placed during 1950-53 Korean War.

Explosives were also swept from an ammunition depot in Yangju, north of Seoul, when it collapsed under the weight of a mudslide. A military official said that all the explosives, including dozens of landmines, had been recovered.

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The Joint Chiefs of Staff ordered units to check for any misplaced explosives in the affected regions.

The microblog forum Twitter was abuzz with anxious chatter about the lost landmines.

As more rain battered the mountainous region on Thursday, authorities drafted 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.

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