Roundup: Typhoon Hagibis claims at least 44 lives in Japan, rescue work continues

Monday, 2019-10-14 15:06:35
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Rescuers work at the flooded area in Nagano Prefecture, Japan, October 14, 2019. (Photo: Xinhua)
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Typhoon Hagibis, which swept across central and eastern Japan on October 12-13, has claimed at 44 lives in Japan on Monday (October 14) as search-and-rescue operations continued in flood- and landslide-hit areas of Nagano and other prefectures.

In addition, 14 people are listed as missing, and more than 100 others were injured during the weekend storm. The number of the injured is expected to rise during further search and rescue.

As of Monday noon, about 38,000 people in 17 prefectures had evacuated their homes, according to the Fire and Disaster Management Agency.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said at a disaster task force meeting that the government will do its utmost to support those affected by the typhoon and its after-effects, vowing to improve conditions at evacuation centers and shelters without waiting for requests from local governments.

"There are concerns that the impact on lives and economic activities may persist," he said. "We will respond as best we can as we continue to think about those who are suffering."

Defense Minister Taro Kono told senior officials at a special Ministry of Defense meeting to ensure the Self-Defense Forces (SDF) makes its best efforts in responding to the disaster, adding that the first 72 hours that follow a disaster are crucial when it comes to saving lives.

Japan's Self-Defense Forces, police and firefighters are carrying out the operations in the wake of the typhoon. By Monday morning, some 31,000 personnel have been mobilized to carry out rescue operations that had saved 1,518 people, said the defense ministry.

Typhoon Hagibis, meaning "swift" in the Philippine language Tagalog, dumped record rainfall which led to rivers bursting their banks, flooding residential districts and triggering landslides in 11 prefectures.

According to the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism, a total of 21 rivers in Nagano, Fukushima, Ibaraki and three other prefectures flooded.

In the central city of Nagano, workers used more than 20 pumping vehicles to help assess damage to the drainage system caused when the Chikuma River's embankment collapsed.

As of 6 a.m. local time on Monday, more than 52,000 households in Tokyo and nearby areas are still without power. Tokyo Electric Power Company is working to fix transmission facilities and expects the electricity supply will be restored by Wednesday (October 16) in about 90 percent of the areas.

Xinhua