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South Korean soldiers search debris for land mines

The searches are taking place following fears that landslides disrupted the mines.

SOUTH KOREAN TROOPS are searching the country for land mines that may have been dislodged by landslides and flooding that have killed dozens of people this week.

Torrential downfalls since Tuesday have affected Seoul and its surrounding areas, submerging streets filled with cars, flooding subway stations and forcing businesses to shut.

At least 50 people have been killed.

There are now fears that land mines may be buried in the debris of a landslide in the capital and that others may have been swept up in floodwaters flowing into the country across the mine-strewn border with North Korea.

The military said it has sent some 140 soldiers armed with metal detectors to search for such ordnance.

Decades ago, South Korea planted land mines on Seoul’s Wumyeon Mountain – which was hit by a landslide on Wednesday – as part of efforts to thwart any possible land invasion by North Korean troops.

Though most were removed, it is believed 10 haven’t been accounted for.

Last year, dozens of land mines apparently swept down from North Korea following heavy rains washed up in South Korea, killing one person and wounding another.

Tens of thousands of South Korean firefighters, soldiers, police officers and other workers are continuing to clean up walls of mud and search for possible survivors in hard-hit areas, according to the National Emergency Management Agency.

The official death toll of 50 does not include 11 other people who died in accidents amid the rains that emergency officials say were caused by negligence.

One man who was drunk and went swimming in the floodwaters and drowned.

- AP

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