Sunday 18 November 2018

One million are evacuated as violent typhoon lashes Japan

Huge waves at the port of Aki
Huge waves at the port of Aki

Samuel Osborne in Tokyo

At least eight people have been killed and a million residents evacuated as Typhoon Jebi sliced a path across western Japan.

Jebi, or "swallow" in Korean, was briefly classed as a super typhoon and is the most powerful storm to hit Japan in 25 years.

A 71-year-old man was found dead under a collapsed warehouse in Shiga, another died after falling from a roof in Mie, broadcaster NHK reported last night.

Police say six other people died in Osaka after being hit by flying objects or falling from their apartments. At least 126 people were injured, NHK said.

Evacuation advisories were issued for more than a million people and gusts of wind up to 207kmh were recorded in one point of Shikoku.

More than 1.6 million households remained without power in Osaka, Kyoto and four nearby prefectures late last night, according to Kansai Electric Power Co.

A man looks at a truck overturned following a powerful typhoon in Osaka. AP
A man looks at a truck overturned following a powerful typhoon in Osaka. AP

Tides in some areas were the highest since a typhoon in 1961, and high seas poured into Kansai International Airport near Osaka, flooding one of its runways and forcing it to close - leaving around 3,000 tourists stranded.

The strong winds and high tides also sent a 2,591-tonne tanker crashing into a bridge which connects the airport to the mainland.

The bridge was damaged and closed but all 11 crew members on the tanker were uninjured and remained on board, according to the coast guard.

Nearly 800 flights were cancelled, along with scores of ferries and trains, according to Japanese media.

The typhoon smashed a 2,500-tonne tanker into a bridge connecting the airport to the mainland in Osaka. AP
The typhoon smashed a 2,500-tonne tanker into a bridge connecting the airport to the mainland in Osaka. AP

High-speed bullet train service was suspended from Tokyo to Hiroshima, though service resumed partially later yesterday afternoon when the typhoon left the region.

The storm also cut power to hundreds of thousands of homes and caused schools, shops and factories to close in Osaka, Japan's second city and a major business centre.

Japan's weather agency warned of possible landslides, flooding and violent winds, as well as high tides, lightning and tornadoes in a swathe of the Japanese archipelago.

Elsewhere in Osaka, the Universal Studios Japan theme park and US Consulate were both closed.

Japan's prime minister, Shinzo Abe, cancelled a scheduled trip to Kyushu, Japan's southernmost main island, to oversee the government's response to the typhoon, said a spokesman.

"I urge the Japanese people to take action to protect your lives, including preparing and evacuating early," Mr Abe said.

Tokyo escaped the centre of the storm but was set for heavy rains and high winds.

Jebi's course brought it close to parts of western Japan hit by rains and flooding that killed more than 200 people in July.

Irish Independent

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