Typhoon kills five off Korea

Tue, Aug 28, 2012, 01:00

A typhoon with winds of up to 170kmh buffeted South Korea's west coast today, killing five people at sea and leaving 10 missing when two Chinese fishing vessels capsized.

Typhoon Bolaven barrelled up the coast before making landfall in already flood-ravaged North Korea as the impoverished country struggles to feed its 24 million people.

A second typhoon was making its way up a similar course today and was expected to hit the peninsula later in the week.

Coast guard rescuers pulled 18 surviving fishermen from the Chinese vessels that capsized off the southern island of Jeju and found five bodies, the emergency services said.

The storm knocked out power for nearly 200,000 homes in South Korea and uprooted poles but there was sharply less serious rain damage than had been feared.

China warned of possible flooding in coming days that could hit corn and soy crops in parts of its three northeastern provinces.

Schools were closed for the day in the South Korean capital, Seoul, and in the south, but financial markets, industrial and energy installations and government services operated as usual.

Hundreds of international and domestic flights were cancelled.

Local news reports said power was cut briefly to the petrochemical factory complex in Yeonsu, affecting LG Chemical , Hanwha Chemical, Kumcho Petrochemical and Yeochun NCC Co but impact on production was limited.

The storm hit the southern part of North Korea's west coast, near the farming regions surrounding the capital Pyongyang, the South's national weather service said.

The destitute North, which has trouble feeding its people even in years with good harvests, has said heavy rains in July and August inundated farmland and triggered landslides, killing hundreds and leaving families homeless.