Destinations

Typhoon Hagibis update: More than 50 killed and a third of Hokuriku bullet trains submerged

Christian Fleetwood

Christian Fleetwood

Emergency crews across Japan are racing against time to rescue dozens of people unaccounted for, after the country was ravaged by its most powerful typhoon in decades.

As recovery efforts begin across Japan, Typhoon Hagibis has been downgraded by the Government’s Fire and Disaster Management Agency (FDMA), which cancelled all heavy rain warnings on Monday.

But the devastation caused by the storm, thought to be the worst in decades to hit Japan, is yet to be fully understood.

Japan public broadcaster NHK reported the death toll from Typhoon Hagibis is now at more than 50 people since the storm made landfall south of Tokyo on Saturday evening.

More than 200 people have been injured; dozens are still unaccounted for, NHK reports.

The FDMA, which is generally more conservative in assessing its numbers, said 24 people were dead and nine were missing.

Thousands of military troops and emergency workers have been dispatched to rescue people trapped by floodwaters in the worst-hit areas around Tokyo, media reports say.

Footage posted by global news network RT shows the devastation across Japan after Typhoon Hagibis hit.

Transportation across Japan has also been affected.

The East Japan Railway Company said 10 trains, with a total of 120 carriages, have been damaged by flooding caused by the typhoon.

 

“Due to typhoon … it is impossible to go directly to Kanazawa station from Tokyo station by Hokuriku Shinkansen,” the company writes on its website.

“To the customers who will go to Kanazawa and Hokuriku area, please use the Tokaido Shinkansen and change to Shirasagi Express at Maibara Station.”

Hokuriku Shinkansen services between Nagano and Jōetsumyōkō have been suspended, the company reported.

According to the Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s office, “record-setting heavy rains and windstorms” caused flooding and landslides across the country.

Many areas across Japan received more than 40 per cent of their yearly rainfall in only a day or two, as the storm battered the country with winds of 225 kilometres per hour, officials say.

While around 200 rivers reportedly overflowed, flooding streets and residential areas, levees burst on about 50. Among them was the Chikuma River in Nagano Prefecture, northwest of Tokyo.

More than 10,000 homes across Japan have been flooded, NHK reported.

Around 35,000 homes were still without electricity on Tuesday morning, and as many as 130,000 households were without running water as of Monday evening, NHK reported.

Across Japan, Hagibis also forced the cancellation of several games at the Rugby World Cup, currently being hosted by the country between September and November.

A moment’s silence was observed during the fixture between Uruguay and Wales, which was able to be played on Sunday, in solidarity for those affected by Hagibis.

Rugby Canada’s match against Namibia in Kamaishi as a consequence of flooding and infrastructure damage. But the Canadian footballers were not caught idle, as the players headed out to help with Typhoon Hagibis recovery efforts.

Featured image: Hagibis Heads Toward Japan, 11 October 2019/NASA

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