Typhoon Hinnamnor leaves South Korea, leaving two dead and thousands displaced

A wave caused by Typhoon Hinnamnor hits the waterfront in Busan, South Korea, on Sept 6, 2022. PHOTO: REUTERS
A signboard that was damaged by Typhoon Hinnamnor in Changwon, South Korea, on Sept 6, 2022. PHOTO: REUTERS
Debris littering the road in a shopping district that was damaged by Typhoon Hinnamnor, in Busan, South Korea, on Sept 6, 2022. PHOTO: REUTERS
Waves crash against the shore before Typhoon Hinnamnor makes landfall in Busan, South Korea, on Sept 5, 2022. PHOTO: EPA-EFE

SEOUL - Typhoon Hinnamnor departed South Korea on Tuesday after making landfall in the country’s south, with at least two dead and 10 more missing, the authorities said.

The typhoon left the Korean peninsula about 7.10am local time (6.10am in Singapore) through waters off the southeastern city of Ulsan after landing on the coastal city of Geoje, according to the Korea Meteorological Administration.

As of 11am, the typhoon was travelling northeast at about 62km per hour, and expected to pass some 420km west of Sapporo, Japan, at 9pm.

Typhoon warnings were lifted across most parts of the country except in some regions, including the southern Ulsan, North Gyeongsang province and the eastern Gangwon province.

President Yoon Suk-yeol has urged officials to take precautions until the typhoon is completely gone, his spokesman said.

One woman in her 70s was found dead in Pohang, about 270km southeast of the capital Seoul, after she had been swept away by torrential waters.

In Pohang, eight people went missing after entering inundated underground carparks to remove their cars, while another person remained unaccounted for after being swept away into rapid torrents.

Another woman in her 80s was left dead in Gyeongju, about 280 km southeast of Seoul, as she was buried in mud at a collapsed house.

In Ulsan, some 310km southeast of Seoul, one 25-year-old man went missing after falling into a stream.

Another person was injured after being hit by a falling signboard in Siheung, some 30km southwest of Seoul.

Eight commercial buildings and 71 houses were flooded across the country, while four houses were destroyed. Eight landslides were reported, and over 200 public facilities were damaged. Five fishing boats capsized, and 1,320 hectares of farmland were inundated in the aftermath of the typhoon.

More than 66,000 homes suffered blackouts, while more than 2,900 people, mostly living in the southeastern region, were temporarily evacuated.

The casualty numbers could rise as the authorities continue rescue operations.

Smoke rising from the POSCO steel plant amid Typhoon Hinnamnor, in Pohang, South Korea, on Sept 6, 2022. PHOTO: REUTERS/@BLACKEDHYEOK/TWITTER

The military has mobilised amphibious vehicles for rescue operations, the defence ministry said.

The typhoon has forced hundreds of flight cancellations, suspension of business operations and school closings.

A spokesman for Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering said there were no incidents at its shipyard so far, and it halted production during Tuesday morning as planned.

A stranded resident is rescued by workers along the Taehwa River after Typhoon Hinnamnor made landfall, in Ulsan, South Korea, on Sept 6, 2022. PHOTO: EPA-EFE

Shipbuilder Hyundai Heavy Industries said it planned to resume work on Tuesday afternoon. Both shipyards were located in or near the path of the typhoon.

Earlier, a fire broke out at South Korean steelmaker POSCO’s plant in the south-eastern city of Pohang on Tuesday, a POSCO spokesman confirmed.

“A fire broke out at our Pohang steel plant – two factories at the plant were affected by the fire – and fires have been put out,” said the POSCO spokesman, adding that no casualties have been found and the company is assessing the damage.

The spokesman said there was a byproduct gas release at the plant in the morning caused by a power disruption due to the typhoon.

The neighbouring North also braced for damage from the typhoon, with leader Kim Jong Un presiding over a two-day meeting on disaster prevention work and releasing water from a dam near its border with South Korea.

South Korea has repeatedly urged the North to give notice before releasing water from the dam as it could result in flooding downstream but Pyongyang has remained unresponsive.

Remote video URL

This is the second major storm to hit the country in a matter of weeks.

Last month, Seoul, the capital, witnessed its heaviest downpour in decades, causing floods that killed at least nine people. The storm damaged some subway stations and led to minor power and water outages.

Mr Yoon promised measures to prevent such damage from happening again.

The Korea Meteorological Administration said most of the nation would see 10cm to 30cm of rain and winds would peak at 215kph.

Over the weekend, the government issued its most severe typhoon warning, the highest-level alert in five years. REUTERS, XINHUA, NYTIMES

Join ST's Telegram channel and get the latest breaking news delivered to you.