South Korea chaos after 'heaviest' snowfall

Media caption,
Soldiers have been deployed to help people stranded in the snow

The heaviest snowfall in more than a century on South Korea's east coast is causing widespread chaos.

Hundreds of houses have collapsed under the weight of the snow. One newspaper described it as a snow bomb.

The South Korean government has deployed 12,000 soldiers to rescue stranded residents.

The worst weather has been in Gangwon province. Weather experts say there will be more snowfall in the area in the coming hours.

"I am 83 years old. It's the heaviest snow in my life. I am really grateful for the soldiers' help," said Park Chae-ran.

Image caption,
The heaviest fall in a century is leaving a chaos in its wake - and more snow is forecast

The BBC's Nick Ravenscroft in Seoul says that although winters are colder than anywhere else at its latitude, with frequent frost and snow, this year has been different.

January was the coldest since the 1960s.

In Gangwon on the eastern coast, one city recorded 80cm (2.6 feet) of snow in a single day - the heaviest fall in 24 hours since records began there back in 1911.

The cost of the damage is expected to run into several million dollars.

Hundreds of motorists are stranded in deep drifts.

Four primary schools in Donga and Samcheok of Gangwon Province, about 240 km (149 miles) east of Seoul, have been closed.

The Han River in the capital, Seoul, iced over for the first time in years - but the latest snowfalls have left the capital unaffected so far.

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