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YONGSAN GARRISON, South Korea — Heavy rains responsible for at least nine deaths and 200 destroyed homes did only minor damage to U.S. bases in South Korea, officials said Monday.

At Kunsan Air Base on South Korea’s central western seacoast, the base theater and bank sustained several inches of flooding and were closed temporarily, the 8th Fighter Wing said Monday. The base post office and food court also saw minor flooding but remained open, officials said.

At Camp Humphreys, a U.S. Army helicopter base in central South Korea, officials closed a 200-foot stretch of Perimeter Road for about one hour Thursday, and again Friday, for about 2½ hours. The road was closed near Airfield Gate No. 4, an area of base known as the “Great Wall.”

Osan Air Base, also in central South Korea, reported no rain-related problems.

In lower South Korea, the Army reported no flood damage or other rain-related problems at its Area IV installations — camps Henry, Walker, and George in Taegu; Carroll in Waegwan, and Hialeah in Pusan.

Other U.S. bases, including those in Seoul and areas north, sustained no damage, said Steve Oertwig, spokesman for the Korea Regional Office of the Installation Management Agency.

Over Saturday and Sunday, central South Korea was deluged with almost six inches of rain, according to the Korea Meteorological Administration. On Saturday, Seoul received about 1.5 inches of rain and a sprinkling on Sunday, the KMA reported.

A KMA forecasting department official said that despite this weekend’s downpours, this year’s monsoon season has been less severe than in the recent past. While rain has been frequent, it hasn’t been overly heavy, he said.

“For the most part, the monsoon season is over but there will probably be a few more isolated showers throughout the peninsula until the middle of August,” the official said.

Forecasters predict cloudy days with a chance for rain through next weekend.

People generally have been advised to avoid flood-prone low-lying areas during severe weather. The U.S. military runs regular advertisements on the American Forces Network Korea advising people to be careful during the storm season.

Bases appear to have escaped harm so far this summer, a welcome respite from past years that saw millions of dollars in damage. The military has financed many infrastructure projects to improve water flow and halt flooding.

Last year, flooding severely damaged the Yongsan base library and bowling alley, causing about $2 million in damage. In 1998, raging flood waters knocked out numerous Quonset huts on Camp Red Cloud, destroying the base’s museum and several offices. The flooding caused about $125 million in damages to bases in Area I.

In response, the command launched several flood-prevention programs, including realigning a flood channel that runs through Camp Red Cloud, creating a retention basin for water overflow and installing floodgates.

Camp Casey also spent $34 million to repair and replace facilities and improve flood-prevention measures. Retaining walls were built along Casey Creek, which runs for about 3.5 miles through the base. The creek overflowed its banks in 1998.

Yongsan Garrison also has undertaken flood control work to improve drainage along the back wall of the base adjacent to the Korean War museum.

Jennifer Kleckner contributed to this report.


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