Summer of 2013 is proving to be a killer, literally

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Summer of 2013 is proving to be a killer, literally

A brutal August continues to take its toll across the country in different ways, swelling already rampant red tides and triggering concerns about livestock, electricity and water supplies.

The National Fisheries Research and Development Institute said yesterday that red algal blooms engulfed large swathes of water from Uljin, North Gyeongsang through Samcheok, Gangwon for the first time in ten years.

The tide, which has already killed millions of fish, was clustered along the southern coast off South Gyeongsang, but thanks to the heat wave it is continuing to spread northward. This year’s red tide has left over 20 million fish dead and led to more than 14.8 billion won ($13.3 million) in damages across South Gyeongsang.

While the algal blooms on the eastern coast grow, the ones along the southern coast appear to be receding, the institute noted.

A mass of green algae has formed along the Nakdong River at a faster pace than usual this year. Algal blooms in rivers are also caused by high temperatures.

On land, hundreds of thousands of domestic animals have died due to the heat.

Corpses of dead chickens littered a poultry farm in North Gyeongsang, with farmers too busy to clear them from sight on Monday.

The North Gyeongsang Provincial Government pledged 900 million won to support farms in the region on Thursday after the deaths of some 100,000 animals, predominantly chickens. A total of 14,000 domestic animals died in Gyeonggi this summer and South Jeolla has lost 75,000.

The National Emergency Management Agency said yesterday the human death toll from the heat wave was 10 as of Wednesday.

Some part of Jeju Island suffered water shortages after being cut off from the water supply for three hours on Tuesday when temperatures hit 30 degrees Celsius (86 Fahrenheit).

The temporary water outage was caused by protracted heat and lack of rain. The accumulated precipitation for July in Jeju was 16.8 millimeters (0.7 inches), the lowest since records have been kept, according to the Korea Meteorological Administration.

The Ministry of Trade, Industry and Energy expected to confront its worst energy crisis this summer due to the heat and several nuclear reactors being offline due to safety concerns.

Experts say unusually strong high-pressure along the south of Japan is behind the hot weather, as it discourages cloud formation and keeps warm, stagnant air in place over China and Japan as well as Korea.

BY PARK EUN-JEE [ejpark@joongang.co.kr]

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