South Korea landslides lead to land mine fears
Seoul: Thousands of rescuers dug through
thick mud for survivors of deadly landslides and flooding as
South Korea's military today warned that buried land mines may
have slid down mountains weakened by rain.
Massive rainfall in Seoul and surrounding areas since
Tuesday has killed at least 47 people, and another four were
missing. The rain stopped or decreased today, but more was
forecast until tomorrow morning.
At a mountain where a deadly slide hit yesterday,
digging for missing people was halted today until the rain
stopped because the Defense Ministry said mines placed there
in the 1960s could have shifted. Soldiers with metal detectors
were waiting to search for the mines, said Yoon Yong-sam, a
spokesman for the air force, which planted the land mines
around an air defense base on the mountain.
A defense ministry official said earlier that 10 mines
could have been pushed down Wumyeon Mountain. The official
declined to be named because of policy. Another ministry
official, spokesman Kim Min-seok, played down the immediate
risk because a concrete wall on the hillside could be stopping
the mines from reaching rescue workers.
South Korea's military dug up many land mines on the
mountain between 1999 and 2006, but about 10 couldn't be
accounted for, officials said. Fences around the base have
warnings about unaccounted land mines.
There were also fears of land mines in northern
provinces also hit by flooding and slides, prompting the Joint
Chiefs of Staff to order mine-search operations where needed.