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Scores killed after typhoon slams Korea

Korea typhoons
Many parts of South Korea look like a war zone  

Staff and wires

SEOUL, South Korea -- South Korea has begun a massive clean up in the wake of the worst typhoon to hit the country in 40 years.

Officials say at least 88 people are dead and 70 are missing after Typhoon Rusa pummeled eastern and southern areas of the country over the weekend.

Rusa dumped up to 89 centimeters (36 inches) of rain within 30 hours in the eastern city of Gangneung, as winds tipped 200 kilometers an hour, before moving out of the peninsula Sunday afternoon.

Rusa slams into South Korea 
Typhoon Rusa wreaked havoc in South Korea killing dozens of people and leaving several others missing. Evacuations have forced thousands to flee their homes.

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South Korea checks out the damage left by Rusa. CNN Seoul Bureau Chief Sohn Jie-ae reports. (Sept. 2)
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Roads and railways were submerged, thousands of houses were flooded, leaving more than 25,000 homeless, while high waves swept away more than 200 ships and wrecked mooring facilities in 24 ports.

Meanwhile, Rusa has also killed scores of people in North Korea and left many missing or injured, the North's official KCNA news agency said on Monday.

Most costly

Rescue workers, police and soldiers battled to reconnect roads, and clear tons of mud off flooded South Korean streets on Monday, with damage to properties expected to be the largest in history.

While property losses were initially estimated at over 260 million dollars, South Korea's disaster prevention headquarters says losses are heading towards the 300 million dollar mark.

But insurers say it will be at least a week before realistic estimates will be known.

Many neighborhoods in worst hit east coast region of Kangneung were cut off on Monday, without electricity or drinking water.

Tens of thousands of acres of farmland were reportedly ruined, triggering worries about a steep hike in food prices.

Red Cross and government authorities rushed blankets, instant noodles and other relief goods to flood victims. Soldiers and police were mobilized for the relief work.

Rail and highway traffic between Seoul and Busan, the nation's second largest city on the south coast, was partly open Monday after workers repaired damaged sections overnight.

Domestic air services, which had been crippled over the weekend, returned to normal Monday, airport officials said. Ferry services were partly restored.

Rusa, the Malaysian word for deer, was the most powerful typhoon to hit South Korea since Sarah in 1959, which left over 840 people dead or missing.

-- CNN Correspondent Sohn Jie-Ae contributed to this report




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