Watch CBS News

Huge Typhoon Hinnamnor slams into South Korea, leaving at least 3 dead and others missing in submerged buildings

A Member of South Korea's Marine Corps 1st Division looks at a civilian vehicle submerged by floodwater in the southern city of Pohang, September 6, 2022, after Typhoon Hinnamnor brought huge rainfall to many southern parts of South Korea. Republic of Korea Ministry of Defense/Handout

Seoul — One of the most powerful storms South Korea has seen in years started lashing southern parts of the country before dawn on Tuesday. By the early evening, Typhoon Hinnamnor had claimed at least three lives, left eight people missing and forced around 4,600 to flee their homes. The typhoon dumped a devastating three feet of rain in some regions, causing floods that left at least 160 buildings damaged or destroyed, according to the government.

The regions of Jeju, Ulsan, Busan, and Pohang were among the hardest hit. 

South Korean authorities started grounding flights, ferries and trains from Monday evening, but the typhoon dealt its blow to the country quickly before pushing back out to sea and weakening, leaving most regions to slowly resume normal operations by early Tuesday evening.

South Korea Asia Typhoon
The Han River, swollen with floodwater, flows under bridges in Seoul, South Korea, September 6, 2022. The most powerful typhoon to hit South Korea in years battered its southern region, dumping 3 feet of rain, destroying roads and felling power lines, leaving 66,000 homes without electricity as thousands of people fled to safer ground. Ahn Young-joon/AP

It was the second time in just a couple weeks that South Korea has been hit hard by torrential rains. The last storm left at least 14 people dead, with the damage concentrated in the capital Seoul. Video of cars being tossed around like toys in the torrents — and the estimated $130 million in damages caused by that storm - led South Korea to be better prepared for this week's wallop.

Unfortunately, some of the attempts to prepare for the incoming storm appeared to do more harm than good. Local media said the management company of an apartment complex in the southern city of Pohang alerted residents to remove their vehicles from an underground parking lot, but as some tried to do so, the garage flooded. One person was killed and six were still missing by Tuesday evening.

Rescue officials said it would take five to six hours to pump the water out of the submerged lot.

South Korea's Marine Corps sent about 1,300 troops to aid in the rescue and recovery efforts, with two amphibious tanks, almost a dozen small inflatable boats, 59 vehicles in total and six large volume water pumps.

Members of South Korea's Marine Corps 1st Division help a civilian climb aboard an amphibious tank during rescue operations in the southern city of Pohang, September 6, 2022, after Typhoon Hinnamnor left many southern regions of the country flooded. Republic of Korea Ministry of Defense/Handout

Typhoon Hinnamnor's impact was also felt across the world's most heavily militarized border, in North Korea. State media there said leader Kim Jong Un had chaired a meeting to review his nation's disaster prevention and response systems.

Often after heavy rains, North Korea opens its dams and releases deluges that can flood northern parts of South Korea. The South Korean government has often called on the North to communicate ahead of any such releases, and it reiterated that request on Monday ahead of the typhoon's landfall.

"We urge them to notify us in advance in case of the release," Cho Joong-hoon, spokesman for South Korea's Ministry of Unification, said Monday. "It also includes the hope that the two Koreas can work together to overcome the current crisis without much damage." 

Cho said the North Korean office that his ministry had called to make the request responded, "without clarifying its position on receiving the notice."

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.