Rescue efforts underway after typhoon rains flood Japan

Residents on a rubber boat are rescued as they were stranded by Typhoon Hagibis, in Iwaki, Fukushima prefecture, northern Japan, Sunday, Oct. 13, 2019. Rescue efforts for people stranded in flooded areas are in full force after a powerful typhoon dashed heavy rainfall and winds through a widespread area of Japan, including Tokyo.(Kyodo News via AP)Residents on a rubber boat are rescued as they were stranded by Typhoon Hagibis, in Iwaki, Fukushima prefecture, northern Japan, Sunday, Oct. 13, 2019. Rescue efforts for people stranded in flooded areas are in full force after a powerful typhoon dashed heavy rainfall and winds through a widespread area of Japan, including Tokyo.(Kyodo News via AP)
Residential area, center, are submerged in muddy waters after an embankment of the Chikuma River, top right, broke because of Typhoon Hagibis, in Nagano, central Japan, Sunday, Oct. 13, 2019. Rescue efforts for people stranded in flooded areas are in full force after a powerful typhoon dashed heavy rainfall and winds through a widespread area of Japan, including Tokyo.(Yohei Kanasashi/Kyodo News via AP)Residential area, center, are submerged in muddy waters after an embankment of the Chikuma River, top right, broke because of Typhoon Hagibis, in Nagano, central Japan, Sunday, Oct. 13, 2019. Rescue efforts for people stranded in flooded areas are in full force after a powerful typhoon dashed heavy rainfall and winds through a widespread area of Japan, including Tokyo.(Yohei Kanasashi/Kyodo News via AP)
People clean their house after Typhoon Hagibis hit the area in Kawasaki, near Tokyo, Japan, Sunday, Oct. 13, 2019. Rescue efforts for people stranded in flooded areas are in full force after a powerful typhoon dashed heavy rainfall and winds through a widespread area of Japan, including Tokyo.(Yohei Nishimura/Kyodo News via AP)People clean their house after Typhoon Hagibis hit the area in Kawasaki, near Tokyo, Japan, Sunday, Oct. 13, 2019. Rescue efforts for people stranded in flooded areas are in full force after a powerful typhoon dashed heavy rainfall and winds through a widespread area of Japan, including Tokyo.(Yohei Nishimura/Kyodo News via AP)
People look at the house damaged by landslide caused by Typhoon Hagibis in Sagamihara, near Tokyo, Japan, Sunday, Oct. 13, 2019. Rescue efforts for people stranded in flooded areas are in full force after a powerful typhoon dashed heavy rainfall and winds through a widespread area of Japan, including Tokyo.(Kyodo News via AP)People look at the house damaged by landslide caused by Typhoon Hagibis in Sagamihara, near Tokyo, Japan, Sunday, Oct. 13, 2019. Rescue efforts for people stranded in flooded areas are in full force after a powerful typhoon dashed heavy rainfall and winds through a widespread area of Japan, including Tokyo.(Kyodo News via AP)

Helicopters plucked people from their flooded homes on Sunday as rescue efforts went into full force in wide areas of Japan, including Tokyo, after a powerful typhoon unleashed heavy rainfall, leaving at least four dead and 17 missing.

Typhoon Hagibis made landfall south of Tokyo Saturday and moved northward. More than 100 people were also injured in its wake, according to public broadcaster NHK, as the numbers kept growing.

News footage showed a rescue helicopter hovering in a flooded area in Nagano prefecture where an embankment of the Chikuma River broke. The chopper plucked those stranded on the second floor of a home submerged in muddy waters.

A stretch of Fukushima, in the city of Date, was also flooded with only rooftops of residential homes visible in some areas. Parts of nearby Miyagi prefecture were also under water.

The Tama River, which runs by Tokyo, overflowed its banks.

Authorities warned of a risk of mudslides. Among the reported deaths were those whose homes were buried in landslides. Other fatalities included people who got swept away by raging rivers.

Some 286,000 homes were without electricity. Several train service in the Tokyo area resumed early morning, although others were undergoing safety checks and were expected to restart later Sunday.

Ruling party politician Fumio Kishida said the government will do its utmost in rescue operations, including making sure that those who moved to shelters were taken care of.

He acknowledged Japan’s power grids need to be strengthened so people in disaster areas can rely on timely information.

“So many risks remain, and it is a reality we must stay on guard,” Kishida said on an NHK TV news talk show. “We must do our utmost. In these times, a disaster can hit anytime.”

The World Rugby Cup match between Namibia and Canada, scheduled for Sunday in Kamaishi, northern Japan, was cancelled as a precautionary measure.

All other matches scheduled for Saturday had been cancelled. Stores and amusement parks had been closed.

As the typhoon bore down on Saturday with heavy rains and strong winds, the usually crowded train stations and streets of Tokyo were deserted with people advised to stay indoors. But life was quickly returning to normal under crisp clear skies Sunday.

About 17,000 police and military troops were on standby for rescue operations.

Evacuation centres had been set up in coastal towns with tens of thousands seeking shelter. Kyodo News service said evacuation warnings had been issued to more than 6 million people.

The typhoon disrupted a three-day weekend in Japan that includes Sports Day on Monday. Qualifying for a Formula One auto race in Suzuka was pushed from Saturday to Sunday.

The authorities had repeatedly warned Hagibis was on par with a typhoon that hit the Tokyo region in 1958. But the safety infrastructure that Japan’s modernization had brought were apparent. The typhoon six decades ago had left more than 1,200 people dead and half a million houses flooded.

Yuri Kageyama, The Associated Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The organizer of a Kelowna protest against COVID-19 restrictions was fined by the RCMP for the third time Saturday, Jan. 16, 2021. (File photo)
COVID-19: Organizer of Kelowna anti-restriction protest ticketed for third time

The individual’s latest ticket for $2,300 was handed out by RCMP at an anti-lockdown rally Saturday

Mount Boucherie Secondary School is one of three Kelowna schools with confirmed cases of COVID-19, according to an update from the school district Saturday, Jan. 16, 2021. (File photo)
COVID-19 confirmed at 3 Kelowna schools

Interior Health has confirmed exposures at Mount Boucherie, Springvalley and South Rutland schools

Justin Kripps of Summerland and his team have competed in Olympic action and World Cup competitions in bobsleigh. (Jason Ransom-Canadian Olympic Comittee).
QUIZ: Are you ready for some winter sports?

It’s cold outside, but there are plenty of recreation opportunities in the winter months

City of Vernon crews are responding to a small sinkhole on Lakeshore Road in Vernon Saturday, Jan. 16, 2021. (Contributed)
Sinkhole slows Vernon traffic

Lakeshore Road has been reduced to single-lane alternating traffic Saturday

A map released by the BCCDC on Jan. 15 shows the number of new COVID-19 cases reported for each local health area between Jan. 3 and 9. (BCCDC Image)
Salmon Arm and Vernon see increase in new COVID cases, curve flattening elsewhere

The rate of new cases is levelling off in Kelowna, Penticton and Revelstoke.

Keith the curious kitten is seen on Nov. 4, 2020 at the Chilliwack SPCA. Friday, Jan. 22, 2021 is Answer Your Cat’s Questions Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Jan. 17 to 23

Answer Your Cat’s Questions Day, Pie Day and International Sweatpants Day are all coming up this week

(Phil McLachlan - Capital News)
‘Targeted’ shooting in Coquitlam leaves woman in hospital

The woman suffered non-life threatening injuries in what police believe to be a targeted shooting Saturday morning

Half of the most expensive homes are on 2080 Mackenzie Crt, which is across the street from Revelstoke Mountain Resort. (Liam Harrap/Revelstoke Review)
The 10 most valuable homes in Revelstoke for 2020

Combined, the properties are worth more than $35M

Lake Country native Evan-Riley Brown is in the cast for the new film Journey To Royal: A WW II Rescue Mission to be released on video on demand and streaming services on Feb. 2. (Contributed)
Okanagan actor lands role in WW II movie

Evan-Riley Brown, from Lake Country, cast in production labelled as hybrid of a feature film and documentary called Journey To Royal: a WW II Rescue Mission.

JaHyung Lee, “Canada’s oldest senior” at 110 years old, received his first dose of the COVID-19 vaccine on Thursday, Jan. 14, 2021. He lives at Amenida Seniors Community in Newton. (Submitted photo: Amenida Seniors Community)
More than 20 days have passed since the last case of COVID-19 was confirmed at Lakeside Manor. (File photo)
Salmon Arm retirement facility reopens social areas after COVID-19

More than 20 days have passed since last confirmed case at Lakeside Manor

A unique-looking deer has been visiting a Nanoose Bay property with its mother. (Frieda Van der Ree photo)
A deer with 3 ears? Unique animal routinely visits B.C. property

Experts say interesting look may be result of an injury rather than an odd birth defect

Standardized foundation skills assessment tests in B.C. schools will be going ahead later than usual, from Feb. 16 to March 12 for students in Grades 4 and 7. (Black Press Media file photo)
B.C. teachers say COVID-affected school year perfect time to end standardized tests

Foundational skills testing of Grade 4 and 7 students planned for February ad March

Sooke’s Jim Bottomley is among a handful of futurists based in Canada. “I want to help people understand the future of humanity.” (Aaron Guillen - Sooke News Mirror)
No crystal ball: B.C. man reveals how he makes his living predicting the future

63-year-old has worked analytical magic for politicians, car brands, and cosmetic companies

Most Read