The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) Image Credit: WAM

Abu Dhabi: The UAE expressed its sincere condolences and solidarity with South Korea over the victims of the torrential rains and floods that resulted in several deaths and injuries.

In a statement, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs(MoFA) expressed its sincere condolences and sympathy to the South Korean Government and people, as well as the families of victims, wishing a speedy recovery for all the injured.


Heavy rains, flooding leave 37 dead

South Korea is at the peak of its summer monsoon season, and there has been heavy rainfall for the last four days, causing a major dam to overflow.

Rescuers battled on Sunday to reach people trapped in a flooded tunnel in South Korea, where at least 37 people have died and nine are missing after heavy rains caused flooding and landslides.

The interior ministry reported that 37 people were killed and another nine were missing nationwide in the heavy downpours, mostly buried by landslides or after falling into a flooded reservoir.

Hundreds of rescue workers were still struggling to reach more than 10 cars and an unknown number of people trapped in a 430-metre (1,410-foot) underground tunnel in Cheongju, North Chungcheong province, the ministry said. Rescue workers were trying to drain the tunnel to reach victims, but the water still appeared to be too deep, hampering search efforts.

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Rescue workers carry the body of a victim recovered during a search and rescue operation near an underpass that has been submerged by a flooded river caused by torrential rain in Cheongju, South Korea. Image Credit: Reuters

Five people were rescued from a bus in the tunnel Saturday, and nine bodies have so far been pulled from the site, with divers working around the clock searching for more victims, the interior ministry said.

The police have received missing person reports for 11 people believed to be in the tunnel, but a final official toll has not yet been provided, as it is unclear how many people were in each car, Yonhap reported.

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Rescuers work to search for survivors along a road submerged by floodwaters leading to an underground tunnel in Cheongju, South Korea, Sunday, July 16, 2023. (Kim Ju-hyung/Yonhap via AP) Image Credit: AP

More rain

South Korean President Yoon Suk Yeol, who is currently on an overseas trip, held an emergency meeting with his aides on the government's response, his office said.

Earlier, he ordered Prime Minister Han Duck-soo to mobilise all available resources to minimise casualties.

The majority of the casualties - including 19 of the dead and eight of the missing - were from North Gyeongsang province, and were largely due to massive landslides in the mountainous area that engulfed houses with people inside.

Some of the people who have been reported missing were swept away when a river overflowed in the province, the interior ministry said, and more than 1,500 people have been unable to return after evacuating from their homes.