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South Korea landslides kill at least 36

Torrential rains and landslides in South Korea's capital, Seoul, and mountain resort town of Chuncheon kill at least 36 people

South korea mudslides 07 27 11Enlarge
A woman steps across floodwater after a torrential rain storm hit the capital city on July 27, 2011 in Seoul, South Korea. South Korea issued a national crisis warning on as torrential rain caused flooding in parts of the country, killing over 35 with at least ten missing. (Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images)

Heavy rains caused landslides Wednesday that reportedly killed at least 36 people in South Korea's capital, Seoul, and at a mountain resort in a northern town.

In Seoul,16 people died when their homes were deluged by mud, the Associated Press reports. Seven people were killed in severe flooding just south of the capital, and the toll is expected to rise as dozens of people are still missing.

A landslide in Chuncheon early Wednesday morning killed 12 people. Ten of those killed were college students staying in a resort cabin and doing volunteer work in the area, Byun In-soo of the town's fire station told the AP.

They were students at Inha University in the western city of Incheon, reports Agence France-Presse.

Hundreds of rescuers have been searching the rubble in Chuncheon, about 68 miles northeast of Seoul, to find survivors, the BBC reports. The landslide destroyed hotels, restaurants and coffee shops.

The Central Disaster Relief Center said 750 rescue workers were dispatched to the site, CNN says.

"We were asleep and suddenly heard a big sound, and then the ceiling fell down," student Lee Beon-seok, who was in the hotel where the college students died, told Reuters. "I heard a weird sound like a train. I felt weird for hearing that train sound, but heard someone shouting 'Help me'. So I went out to see, and I saw it was swept by landslide all over."

South Korea has been hit by torrential rains this week, with muddy water filling the streets of Seoul. The downpours have also caused traffic jams, power cuts and internet connection failures, while subway stations have been flooded with water, AFP reports. Thirty-six major roads across the country were affected, and at least 700 homes in Seoul were flooded.

More than 10 inches fell on Chuncheon in two days, and about 15 inches fell on Seoul starting Tuesday afternoon, the AP reports. Northern parts of the country could see another 10 inches by Friday.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/asia-pacific/south-korea/110727/south-korea-landslides-seoul-flash-floods