South Korea surveying damage from powerful typhoon Lingling

People watching a news report about Typhoon Lingling at the Seoul Station, in South Korea, on Sept 7, 2019.
People watching a news report about Typhoon Lingling at the Seoul Station, in South Korea, on Sept 7, 2019.PHOTO: EPA-EFE

SEOUL (AP) - South Korea on Sunday (Sept 8) was surveying the impact of one of the most powerful typhoons to ever hit the Korean Peninsula, but the country appears to have escaped widespread damage.

The country's Interior and Safety Ministry said in a statement that it is reviewing the damage from Typhoon Lingling and engaging in recovery work. The storm killed three people, damaged buildings and knocked out power to about 161,640 homes.

Typhoon Lingling swept along South Korea's west coast on Saturday before making landfall in North Korea.

A 75-year-old woman in the central South Korean town of Boryeong was killed after strong winds blew her off her feet and crashed her into a wall 30m away, the ministry said.

A 39-year-old was killed in the western city of Incheon after being crushed by a collapsed wall at a hospital parking lot, while a 61-year-old Chinese national died in the border town of Paju after being hit by a blown-off roof tile.

South Korea's government said on Saturday at least 15 people were being treated for injuries, including an elderly couple from Boryeong who were injured after steel scaffolding collapsed on their home.

The storm toppled hundreds of trees and streetlamps, blew signboards off buildings and damaged traffic signs across the mainland and Jeju.

More than 200 flights were grounded at airports nationwide, while 38 people were forced to evacuate from their flooded homes in Gwangju, a city near Seoul.

 
 

Typhoons that made a landfall in South Korea in past years caused greater damages and more casualties.

Rainstorms could be a catastrophe in North Korea because of poor drainage, deforestation and decrepit infrastructure in the impoverished country.

Residents in the North Korean capital of Pyongyang were on Saturday seen using umbrellas to shield themselves from wind and rain while struggling to walk through wet streets.

North Korea's state TV on Saturday reported that an unspecified number of homes and buildings had been damaged and showed footage of flooded streets and toppled trees. But the country's state media hasn't publicised any typhoon-related deaths or injuries.

According to the North's Korean Central News Agency, leader Kim Jong Un "urgently convened" an emergency meeting on Friday to discuss disaster prevention efforts and scolded government officials who he described as "helpless against the typhoon, unaware of its seriousness and seized with easygoing sentiment."

The storm was moving near Russia's Vladivostok as of Sunday morning.