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Six hurt as record snow buries SKorean market

SEOUL, Feb 16 – Six people were injured when an awning at a South Korean market collapsed Wednesday under the weight of record snowfall, a fire and rescue service spokesman said.

Contrary to initial reports, no deaths had so far been reported but a search was continuing for people possibly still buried under snow, the spokesman in the northeastern coastal city of Samcheok told AFP.

The accident happened at a traditional market in the city, which experienced a total 174 centimetres (70 inches) of snow over four days ending Monday.

Other parts of Gangwon province have also been hit by the heaviest snowfalls since record-keeping began a century ago.

Homes in remote villages have been cut off, farms damaged, hundreds of schools temporarily closed and flights cancelled. Nearly 10,000 soldiers have been mobilised to clear roads.

Provincial officials quoted by Yonhap put the cost of property damage at about 4.8 billion won ($4.3 million) as of Tuesday.

Heavy snow also battered the southeastern industrial city of Pohang and nearby towns.

The government is expected to designate Gangwon a "special disaster zone" next week, a move that would ease administrative and financial support for recovery efforts, presidential officials said.

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