SEOUL (AP, THE KOREA HERALD/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Typhoon winds killed at least three persons and left thousands of South Korean homes without electricity on Saturday (Sept 7) as a powerful storm system brushed up against the Korean Peninsula.
Strong winds and rain from Typhoon Lingling caused power outages in more than 127,000 homes on the southern resort island of Jeju and in southern mainland regions, South Korea's Ministry of the Interior and Safety said.
A woman in her 70s died after strong winds from the typhoon blew her off her feet and crashed her into a wall 30m away in Boryeong, some 150km southwest of Seoul, the Yonhap news agency reported.
A 38-year-old was killed in the western city of Incheon after being crushed by a collapsed wall at a hospital parking lot. 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 at least 10 people were being treated for injuries, including an elderly couple from Boryeong who were injured after steel scaffolding collapsed over their home.
The typhoon was 184km southwest of the southern mainland city of Gunsan on Saturday morning, moving north at 45kmh with winds of up to 140kmh, the Korea Meteorological Association said.
It is expected to affect a broader part of the country as it passes off South Korea's west coast later on Saturday before making landfall in North Korea at around 3pm.
The storm toppled trees and streetlamps and damaged traffic signs in Jeju overnight, caused airports to cancel 89 flights and forced 38 people to evacuate from their flooded homes in a city near Seoul. There were no immediate reports of injuries.
National parks were closed as were southern ports on the mainland and major cross-sea bridges.
South Korea's weather agency has warned of flooding, landslides and structure damaged caused by strong rain and winds expected nationwide until early Sunday.
North Korea's official Korean Central News Agency said 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".
Kim called for his military to drive national efforts to minimize damage from the typhoon, which he said would be an "enormous struggle" that would require the entire country to step up, KCNA said.