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Bolaven wreaks havoc, moves north

Most powerful storm in a decade leaves 25 dead or missing

  • Stephen Hong, Seoul
  • Korea
  • August 29, 2012
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At least 25 were killed or listed missing yesterday after Typhoon Bolaven, the most powerful storm to hit the country in a decade, left a trail of destruction cutting off power to millions, authorities said today.

Six Chinese fishermen were killed yesterday morning after two boats capsized off the coast of Jeju Island. Eighteen crew members were rescued and another nine Chinese fishermen were still missing, a spokesman for the Korea Coast Guard said.

At least 10 other people were killed in incidents across the country, including a man crushed to death under a shipping container while another was killed by a falling church spire, according to local media reports and the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA).

The typhoon which was packing winds up to 185 kilometers per hour when it passed by Okinawa, Japan on Monday felled hundreds of trees, destroyed 35 homes, 42 ships and ravaged more than 6,000 hectares of farmland, NEMA said.

The storm also cut power to 1.9 million homes while hundreds of flights were canceled and some 14,000 schools across the country were forced to close for the day.

NEMA said the death toll and destruction could have been worse had it not been for the fact that authorities and people, mindful of the disaster caused by Typhoon Rusa in 2002 which killed 246, had taken precautions.

Meanwhile, state media in North Korea today said Bolaven has lashed the western part of the country, which has already been hard hit by recent flooding.

Strong winds have blown down many trees, power supplies have been seriously affected, and farmland damaged by heavy rain the state-run KCNA said.

Typhoon Tenbin, a weaker storm than Bolaven, was expected to bring further heavy rain to the peninsula later today, according to the Korea Meteorological Administration.

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