Massive typhoon bears down on Japan

Major storm brings torrential rain and flooding to several coastal areas

Mon, Sep 16, 2013, 07:11

A massive typhoon is bearing down on Japan and heading towards Tokyo, dumping torrential rain, damaging homes and flooding parts of the country’s popular tourist destination of Kyoto, where 260,000 people were ordered to evacuate to shelters.

Dozens were injured and public broadcaster NHK said four people were missing. Typhoon Man-yi, one of the worst storms to lash Japan this season, was packing wind speeds of 100mph and heading toward Japan’s capital region.

The government has set up an emergency task force to assess damage and support rescue effort, said prime minister’s office spokesman Hikariko Ono.

Kyoto and neighbouring Shiga state have asked the defence ministry to mobilise relief teams. NHK said at least four people were missing and 48 people injured in 16 western and central states since yesterday.

Among them were two women in their 70s when a mudslide hit their houses in Shiga and Fukui in western Japan. A man fell into a swollen river when he went to check fish traps in Fukushima state. More than 700 homes were flooded across the western and central Japan, NHK said. As the typhoon travelled eastwards, trains in Tokyo and nearby were largely suspended and hundreds of flights were grounded.

The storm dumped an “unprecedented amount of rainfall” in Kyoto and two of its neighbouring states it passed overnight, dumping as much as three inches an hour, the Meteorological Agency said. The agency lifted a “special warning” for the area but urged people to stay alert. In Kyoto, where the city’s major Katsura River flooded, 260,000 people were told to evacuate.

NHK showed tourists being taken to safety on boats on a flooded riverside street, towed by rescue workers. Hundreds of thousands of others were also ordered to evacuate in western Japan. About 80,000 houses were without electricity in western and central Japan.

AP