Monday, 14 October 2019 10:42

Typhoon Hagibis In Japan: 25 Dead As Thousands Join Rescue Effort

Written by Boma Bravura Al
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At least 25 people have died and 15 others are missing after one of the most powerful typhoons in decades struck wide areas of Japan’s main island on Saturday night.

Media reports said thousands of troops, firefighters and other emergency workers had been dispatched to rescue people trapped by floodwater in the worst-hit areas, as utilities raced to restore power to hundreds of thousands of homes.

Typhoon Hagibis, which has been described by meteorologists as the strongest storm to hit Japan for more than six decades, caused widespread damage across low-lying land in central and eastern parts of the country, with rivers bursting their banks after hours of torrential rain and howling winds.

Hagibis, which means “speed” in the Philippine language Tagalog, forced the cancellation of hundreds of flights and affected shinkansen bullet train services, the Japanese state broadcaster NHK said, reporting that more than 100 people had been injured.

Hagibis also caused disruption to major international sports events scheduled to take place over the three-day weekend, including the Rugby World Cup, forcing the cancellation of several pool matches.

Millions of residents of Tokyo awoke to sunshine and clear skies, and many train lines resumed services, but authorities warned that rivers in eastern Japan could still overflow and inflict more damage.

The prime minister, Shinzo Abe, held an emergency meeting and offered his support to all those affected by the disaster – the second destructive storm to hit Japan in the space of a month.

“I extend my condolences to all those who lost their lives and offer my sympathies to all those impacted,” Abe said. “With respect to blackouts, water outage and suspension of transportation services, we will do our utmost to bring about a swift recovery. We ask the public to stay vigilant in case of landslides and other hazards.”

The government said 27,000 members of the self-defence forces and other emergency workers had been sent to Nagano prefecture – one of the most badly affected regions – and other affected areas to help with the rescue effort.

TV footage showed military helicopters airlifting stranded people from homes that had been flooded by river water. Some families, including those with small children, had been forced to seek safety on their roofs.

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