SEOUL – The unusually long monsoon season in South Korea has left 31 people dead and 11 missing in just over a week, with nearly 7,000 people displaced in the country, which was also bracing itself for the arrival of Typhoon Jangmi on Monday.
The latest region to be hit hard by the monsoon has been the South Jeolla province in the southwest of the country.
Storms that have affected the area since Friday have left 13 people dead and two missing.
Heavy downpours have also caused dikes along the Seomjin river to collapse, leading to the flooding of over 2,500 homes and cutting off roads and railway lines.
Since the start of the monsoon season at the end of June, more than 14,000 buildings across the country have suffered major damage and over 7,000 people have been unable to return home.
South Korea is on track to experience its longest rainy streak since records began.
In 2013, rains in the country lasted for a record 49 days.
The Korea Meteorological Administration (KMA) estimates that the current streak, which is already at 47 days, will surpass 50 as forecasts suggest that it will continue to rain in most parts of the country until Aug. 15 at least.
The KMA has also predicted the arrival of Typhoon Jangmi on Monday.
The storm is expected to make landfall at around 3:00 pm near the country’s second-biggest city, Busan, which already suffered flooding a little more than two weeks ago.
Prime Minister Chung Sye-kyun told officials to take “exhaustive” measures against the typhoon.
“While this typhoon is a small one, its speed is very quick, raising concerns over damage from strong winds,” Chung said, according to Yonhap news agency. “Please take exhaustive measures against strong winds in Jeju and the southern coastal areas which are under the typhoon’s influence.”
However, it is a low-intensity typhoon traveling at around 70 kilometers per hour (43 miles per hour), according to KMA, and it is expected to leave the Korean Peninsula at around 6:00 pm and continue to move northeast through the Sea of Japan (called the East Sea in the two Koreas) until it loses strength.