S. Korea's fatal floods lay bare social disparity

STORY: In the South Korean capital, clean up efforts after this week’s deadly floods are underway.

For 50-year-old Sillim resident Ha In-sik that means bailing water out of his lower ground floor apartment using a plastic bowl.

His situation bears uncomfortable similarities with the sewage-flooded semi-basement apartment depicted in the Oscar-winning South Korean film, "Parasite" - a tale of growing social disparity in Asia's fourth-largest economy.

“I live in a half-basement flat. I have to throw away all my belongings, computer and even dishes. I can't do anything about it. It happened because the poor live here and we don't have much money. It rained so much this time, and this became a disaster."

"I had lived with hopes of living like other people, but that hope has disappeared due to this situation. I'm frustrated about how I should live from now on. Now I have nothing to live on."

While wealthier parts of the capital, such as glitzy Gangnam, have already begun to return to normal, large swathes of low-incomes districts like Sillim remain inundated.

On Monday (August 8), three family members living in the neighborhood, including a woman with developmental disabilities, drowned in their lower ground apartment.

Overall at least 10 people have perished as a result of the torrential rain, which knocked out power lines, caused landslides and submerged roads and subways both across the capital and in a neighboring provinces.

Although South Korea often experiences torrential rain during the summer, according to Korea’s Meteorological Administration, it’s the heaviest in 115 years.

It added that as of Wednesday six people are still missing and 570 have at least temporarily lost their homes.

An official at the Gwanak district office, which covers Sillim, said that recovery efforts can be slower there due to the concentration of tiny apartments and houses lining the narrow streets...

Ha In-sik believes it will take him ten days to get his apartment back to the point where he would move back in.

He said the only help the government had offered was for temporary shelter at a gymnasium, which he rejected.

On Tuesday, President Yoon Suk-yeol directly linked the weather conditions to climate change.