Seoul, Sept. 14 (Reuters): South Korean soldiers and rescue workers searched for dozens of missing people today after the country’s most powerful typhoon on record killed at least 85 and inflicted damage of more than $385 million.
Rescuers were desperately trying to reach a dozen people trapped in a karaoke bar in the southern city of Masan, where eight bodies had been found.
Typhoon Maemi, or “cicada” in Korean, tore into southern parts of the peninsula on Friday night, packing record winds of up to 216 kph and carving a swathe of destruction before heading out to sea yesterday.
The death toll had risen to 85 and 30 people were missing, as of late in the afternoon today, an official at the National Disaster Prevention Council said. An initial estimate of the cost of damage was 450.2 billion won ($385 million), the official said.
“The rescue work will continue through he night, but it seems most casualties have been reported,” council official Chung Kwang-yong said. Thousands of soldiers and rescue workers were searching for the missing, helping repair roads and power lines and distributing relief supplies.
Up to 453 mm of rain was dumped across some areas and about 25,000 people had to be evacuated, the disaster office said. Several thousand were still camped out in public buildings today.
The typhoon mauled South Korea’s main port of Pusan, one of Asia’s busiest, but did not affect the capital, Seoul.