SEOUL • At least four people died and three others went missing after Typhoon Chaba swept through the lower part of the Korean peninsula yesterday, flooding the country's main port and industrial sites and disrupting production at some factories.
Jeju island and the south-western cities of Busan and Ulsan were the most severely hit as Chaba unleashed strong gusts at 47m per second and rainfall as much as 600mm between Tuesday and yesterday noon.
In Busan, a tower crane collapsed onto a container in a construction site, killing a 59-year-old man, according to the Ministry of Public Safety and Security. A 90-year-old woman also died after strong winds pushed her off a building. The toll is likely to rise, the ministry said.
More than 120 flights were grounded because of the typhoon, leaving thousands of passengers stranded. Jeju International Airport closed for three hours in the morning, and all morning flights in and out of Gimhae airport, located in Busan, were cancelled.
High-speed trains in the southern regions were temporarily suspended at noon as a result of power cuts caused by the rainstorm.
Typhoon Chaba also knocked out power in more than 210,000 households around the affected region, according to Korea Electric Power.
Businesses based in the affected areas also saw damage.
Work at Hyundai Motor's two factories in the city of Ulsan, which produce the Accent cars and Sante Fe sport utility vehicles, was suspended because of "inflow of water", a spokesman for the company said.
Operations were also suspended at some shipyards along the south coast, including at Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering in Geoje city.
Preparations for the prestigious Busan International Film Festival (BIFF), which opens today and is scheduled to screen 299 films from 69 countries, hit a snag as Chaba tore through some of its venues, destroying its makeshift facilities.
"I'm glad the typhoon didn't come on opening day, but I'm still very worried by the damage it's done to BIFF Village," one festival organiser was quoted as saying by the Yonhap news agency.
"We're bringing in as many people as possible to make sure the event goes according to plan."
The weather agency lifted typhoon warnings issued for most of the southern regions by 3pm yesterday, as Chaba moved towards Japan where warnings have been issued for storms, high ocean waves and heavy rain, covering large swathes of western Japan.
THE KOREA HERALD/ASIA NEWS NETWORK, REUTERS