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Kiwi mum and son are killed in horror landslides and flash flooding in South Korea

A New Zealand mum and her young child are among 15 killed in landslides and flooding brought on by the longest monsoon South Korea has faced in nearly a decade.

The 36-year-old woman, whose surname is Song, and her two-year-old son were killed in a mudslide in the central region of the country.

The pair were found dead at their vacation cottage in Gapyeong, just northeast of Seoul, on Monday. 

Their bodies were found alongside Song’s 77-year-old mother, who is also a New Zealand citizen and only known by her surname, Kim.

Fifteen people, including the family, have died since torrential rains began on Saturday. 

Eleven others are still missing, according to the Central Disaster and Safety Countermeasures Headquarters under the Ministry of the Interior and Safety, The Korea Times reported.

Fifteen people, including the family, have died since torrential rains began in South Korea on Saturday. Pictured: Rescuers searching for survivors at a damaged house after a landslide in Gapyeong, South Korea

Fifteen people, including the family, have died since torrential rains began in South Korea on Saturday. Pictured: Rescuers searching for survivors at a damaged house after a landslide in Gapyeong, South Korea

Fifteen people, including the family, have died since torrential rains began in South Korea on Saturday. Pictured: Rescuers searching for survivors at a damaged house after a landslide in Gapyeong, South Korea

While the Ministry of the Interior and Safety refrained from revealing the identity of the family to AP, Stuff reported Gapyeong police confirmed the New Zealander deaths.

Malcolm Luke, who knew one of the victims, also told 1 NEWS the New Zealanders were prominent members of the community and ‘we’re all pretty devastated’ by the tragedy.

‘We’re a tight-knit unit over here and it has a profound impact when you lose people like that,’ he said.

‘In this situation when something is abrupt and tragic like this it’s a sad day.

‘The last two weeks, right through the region, through China and Japan and Taiwan have been affected by severe flooding – and it’s kind of our turn to go down that road.

‘There is no respite either because it looks like we’re got another two or three weeks of it.’  

Yonhap reported North Korea opened the floodgates of a border dam on Monday without advanced notice to its neighbour. A total of 2,085 private assets and 1,921 public facilities have been reported damaged by landslides and floodwaters. Pictured: The flooded Han River park after torrential rain in Seoul, South Korea

Yonhap reported North Korea opened the floodgates of a border dam on Monday without advanced notice to its neighbour. A total of 2,085 private assets and 1,921 public facilities have been reported damaged by landslides and floodwaters. Pictured: The flooded Han River park after torrential rain in Seoul, South Korea

Yonhap reported North Korea opened the floodgates of a border dam on Monday without advanced notice to its neighbour. A total of 2,085 private assets and 1,921 public facilities have been reported damaged by landslides and floodwaters. Pictured: The flooded Han River park after torrential rain in Seoul, South Korea

Kim was known for running a complex of vacation cottages in Gapyeong and had been living there, an officer said, according to Stuff.

The daughter, who formerly worked in New Zealand, had recently arrived in the country with her son to help her mother run the complex.

A Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (MFAT) spokeswoman said: ‘The Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade and the New Zealand Embassy in Seoul are aware of the deaths of three New Zealanders in a landslide near Seoul and are providing consular assistance. For privacy reasons no further information will be provided.’ 

A close friend of the trio told 1NEWS he believed they were staying at Sky Lounge Korea in Gapyeong – about two hours from Seoul, TVNZ reported. 

‘All I know at this stage is that the cafe part of their lodging was destroyed,’ he said. 

‘They were inside that building at the time. One male employee left seconds before the hill behind them came down.’ 

News agency Yonhap reported 1,072 people from 648 households were forced to leave their homes due to landslides and flooding. Pictured: Workers beginning to clean up the devastation left behind by torrential rain at Hand River park in Seoul, South Korea

News agency Yonhap reported 1,072 people from 648 households were forced to leave their homes due to landslides and flooding. Pictured: Workers beginning to clean up the devastation left behind by torrential rain at Hand River park in Seoul, South Korea

News agency Yonhap reported 1,072 people from 648 households were forced to leave their homes due to landslides and flooding. Pictured: Workers beginning to clean up the devastation left behind by torrential rain at Hand River park in Seoul, South Korea

News agency Yonhap reported 1,072 people from 648 households were forced to leave their homes due to the event.

Half of those are in North Chungcheong Province, followed by residents of Gyeonggi, Gangwon and Seoul.

Property damage so far includes 2,085 private assets and 1,921 public facilities, it reported.

Houses, warehouses, agricultural plastic houses, cattle sheds, roads, bridges, railways and water reservoirs are among the assets damaged.

Restoration projects are underway with more than 41,000 police, fire authorities and volunteers involved.  

Yonhap reported North Korea opened the floodgates of a border dam on Monday without advanced notice to its neighbour.

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