SEOUL, South Korea (AP) — A day after a powerful tropical storm flooded dozens of homes and turned streets into muddy rivers, South Korea threw a huge K-Pop concert in Seoul for 40,000 Scouts whose global Jamboree was disrupted by the weather.
Friday’s concert at a wet soccer stadium featured various performers, including girl groups NewJeans and Ive. The show was quickly put together by government officials as the closing event of the World Scout Jamboree. It came as the country began to clean up and make repairs in the aftermath of the storm, Khanun, which pounded the country’s southern and eastern regions with intense rains and winds that forced thousands to evacuate and left at least one person dead after making landfall early Thursday.
Khanun had weakened by the time it arrived in the densely populated Seoul metropolitan area Thursday night, and it blew into North Korea early Friday as a tropical depression.
The Jamboree was held at a coastal campsite before Khanun forced mass relocation efforts to house the Scouts in university dormitories, government and corporate training centers and hotels in the greater Seoul region and nearby areas.
Even before the storm effectively cut the Jamboree short, organizers struggled to continue the event in the face of punishing heat wave and hygiene problems that led thousands of British and Americans Scouts to leave the campsite early.
Those pullouts were a huge public relations setback for a country that continuously seeks the recognition huge international events bring. Friday’s concert came after frantic government efforts to give the Jamboree a proper ending.
“We are sorry about the difficulties Scouts experienced in the face of an unprecedented heat wave and typhoon triggered by climate change,” South Korean Prime Minister Han Duck-soo said in a speech before the concert at the Seoul World Cup Stadium. He didn’t get much attention from the huge crowds of global scouts packing the seats in multicolored unforms and raincoats, who roared in excitement and made waves rising in sequence around the stadium as Han read out his statement.
The Scouts cheered enthusiastically as the singers began performing on a brightly illuminated stage amid light rain, waving heart-shaped light sticks and filming with their phones.
Government officials said most commercial flights and train services had resumed and power was mostly restored to some 46,000 households that had been knocked out of electricity as Khanun blew through the country.
No major storm damage has been reported in Seoul, where rain continued into the evening. In the nearby port city of Incheon, workers responded to flooded homes and collapsed walls.
In the southern inland city of Daegu, a 67-year-old man found near a bloated stream was later pronounced dead. Workers were searching for another person who was swept into a stream while using a wheelchair.
In Gangwon province, a mountainous region on the east coast that was drenched with some of Khanun’s heaviest rain, emergency workers in the seaside cities of Gangneung and Sokcho waded across rivers of brown, thigh-high water covering what used to be streets.
Nearly 16,000 people, mostly in southern regions, had been forced to evacuate from the storm but around 11,400 have returned home as of Friday, according to the Ministry of the Interior and Safety.
The storm damaged or destroyed at least 64 roads and damaged around 50 homes and buildings. Authorities restricted access to nearly 700 motorways as the rain persisted.
North Korea didn’t immediately confirm any meaningful damage caused by the storm, although its state TV mentioned some uprooted trees. State media has previously described nationwide efforts to strengthen the monitoring of roads, railways, bridges and coastlines, and to employ measures to protect factory machines and crops.
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