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Typhoon Rusa Smashes Korea

Scores of people are feared dead or missing after the worst typhoon in more than 40 years swept the Korean Peninsula over the weekend. Tens-of-thousands of soldiers are being mobilized in a massive clean-up operation after record levels of rain fell over the southeastern part of the country.

Local media reports that as many as 184 people are feared dead or missing in floods and landslides caused by Typhoon Rusa, which dumped 87 centimeters of rain over the peninsula and caused winds of up to 203 kilometers per hour.

Kangwon Province, in the southeast of the country, was hit the worst. The typhoon tore up trees, uprooted electricity cables and severely damaged transport links.

More than a million households suffered electricity blackouts, and hundreds of people were made homeless.

With floodwaters rushing past him, one villager from Kangung Province complained that the government had recently made repairs to the river banks, but failed to make them strong enough, and they were swept away by the rising waters.

South Korean President Kim Dae-jung convened an emergency Cabinet meeting, and ordered troops to help in the clean-up operation. Rescue workers have been struggling to reach people isolated by the floods.

One rescue worker said communication and transport links in one village were completely destroyed, and emergency workers were forced to use boats to move around.

More than 17,000 homes and 5,000 hectares of farmland were affected by flood waters, before Typhoon Rusa moved out over the Sea of Japan Sunday.

The cost of the damage has been estimated at around $200 million, and South Koreans have already been warned that the prices for fresh fruit and vegetables are likely to rise sharply.