Seoul Plans To Ban “Parasite”-Style Basement Homes After Horrific Flood Kills Family

It is all too eerily similar to movie “Parasite.”

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This article reveals plot details of a current movie or series.

This week, Seoul, South Korea, has suffered the heaviest rainfalls in 80 years.

[Ministry of Public Administration and Security] Today at 7:40pm, heavy rain and landslide warning in effect for Seoul. Evacuate if in dangerous areas of habitual flooding. Please avoid going out and stay safe.

— Ministry of Public Administration and Security’s Emergency Alert

It has resulted in severe flooding and power outages in areas such as Gangnam and Incheon. Many Korean netizens have shared their POVs, revealing cars submerged completely in water, flooded establishments, subway stations, homes, etc.

| The Korea Herald

| The Korea Herald

| The Korea Herald

| The Korea Herald

Many agreed that it seemed to be something straight from “a horror movie,” but a specific one came to mind…

Netizens couldn’t help but think of Bong Joon Ho‘s 2019 Oscar-winning film Parasite. Some even wondered if it foreshadowed it.

In the third act of Parasite, there is a heavy downpour that floods the lowest parts of the neighborhood. As the Kim family returns to their basement home (known as banjiha), the rain comes flooding down to their necks and damaging all of their possessions.

Unfortunately, in this case, art imitates life and vice versa. According to the BBC, On Monday night, two sisters in their 40s and a 13-year-old girl were found dead in their flooded semi-basement flat.” 

As of Wednesday, at least 11 people were confirmed dead or missing as a result of the floods, which have gone on for three days.

— BBC

“The two women and a 13-year-old girl were trapped inside this basement flat.” | BBC

They had attempted to get help as the banjiha flooded, but rescuers failed to reach them in time. After the tragedy of this family of three, topics of inequality that Parasite had focused on have been brought up again.

The sister and brother in “Parasite” (left) lived in a banjiha in Seoul. | CJENM (left) & BBC (right)

Banjiha, which directly translates to half-basement, are apartment-like homes that are mostly underground, while the upper part is above ground for small window ventilation. This style of living is known for cheap rents but also poor living conditions.

After this recent horrific event, according to Yonhap, Seoul officials are to consult with the Korean government. The plan is to revise the building law so that the banjiha for residential purposes will be banned.

Underground and semi-underground housing threatens the vulnerable in all aspects…

— Seoul Mayor Oh Se Hoon via Yonhap

| Julie Yoon via BBC

However, they will be redeemed for non-residential purposes, such as parking or storage. Owners will also be allowed 20 years to convert them into such.

As of 2020, there were about 200,000 such flats in Seoul – making up 5% of all households in the capital – official data shows.

— BBC

| Julie Yoon via BBC

Reportedly, current tenants of the semi-basement homes will be provided support for them to transition and move to public rental housing.

| Julie Yoon via BBC

Previously, the Seoul government promised to support 1,500 households living in banjiha after the success of Parasite brought to light issues. 

Source: BBC

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