South Korea cleaned up on Thursday after Typhoon Chaba lashed its southern coast with powerful winds and heavy rains that triggered flash floods and left six people dead and four missing. The violent storm passed over the southern tip of the Korean peninsula on Wednesday, pummelling the port of Busan — the country’s second-largest city — and the industrial city of Ulsan.
In Ulsan, a man drowned near his apartment and a woman was found dead at a flooded underground parking lot. More than 230,000 homes across the coastal area suffered power outages, but the Korea Electric Power Corp. said supplies had been restored by the morning. In Ulsan, home to Hyundai Motor’s main production facilities, two car plants had to be closed down when the typhoon hit, and one remained offline Thursday due to flood damage.
“We are trying our best to resume operations as soon as possible, but we need more time to ensure safety in the assembly lines,” a company spokeswoman said. Photos released by the Hyundai labour union showed flooded assembly lines where workers produce popular sedans and sports utility vehicles.
Video from public surveillance cameras showed cars, refrigerators and other debris floating down flooded streets and people struggling through muddy, chest-deep water. Other footage posted on social media showed waves shattering the glass windows of seafront stores and a wooden house having its roof sheared off after slipping into a swollen river and being carried under a low bridge.
The storm also disrupted preparations for Asia’s largest movie showcase, the Busan International Film Festival, which was scheduled to open on Thursday evening. Festival events planned on Busan’s main Haeundae beach had to be cancelled or moved indoors after the strong winds blew away or damaged the temporary venues erected on the sand. The typhoon had triggered severe storm warnings in Japan, but was downgraded to an tropical cyclone over the Sea of Japan (East Sea) before it hit Honshu island on Wednesday evening.
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