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Death toll rises to 70 in wake of Typhoon Hagibis ripping through Japan

Christian Fernsby |
Emergency crews in Japan are continuing to search for more than a dozen people still missing on Tuesday after Typhoon Hagibis ripped through Japan over the weekend causing widespread damage and killing at least 70 people.

Topics: TYPHOON    HAGIBIS    JAPAN   

Blackouts continue to affect many areas, Japanese industry minister Isshu Sugawara said, confirming that the number of households without power stood at 34,000.

Sugawara said that in hard-hit Chiba prefecture, 16,000 homes remain without power, with 12,000 homes in Nagano prefecture also affected.

Utility firms have said it could take as long as one week before all the homes are back on the grid and receiving electricity safely.

Water supplies have also been knocked out in some regions, with 133,000 homes in 13 prefectures, still without running water, the health ministry said.

The powerful typhoon has also led to severe flooding, with failing levees affecting nearly 50 rivers in 66 areas across Japan, with the situation compounded by emergency services still unable to gain access to some areas due to extensive flooding.

Japan's public broadcaster NHK said that including the Chikuma River in Nagano Prefecture, located north of Tokyo, the catastrophic typhoon caused at least 200 rivers to overflow, adding to flood damage across wide areas.

Along with power and water supply issues, the typhoon also triggered around 150 mudslides across the country, Japanese infrastructure ministry said.

At a disaster task force meeting convened on Tuesday, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said the government will have access to reserve funds, and if deemed necessary will compile a draft a supplementary budget to cover the immense amount of reconstruction work necessary in the wake of the damage caused by Hagibis.

"It is urgent to provide adequate support for the victims. There are concerns that the impact on life and economic activities will be prolonged," the prime minister also said in parliament.

As the government and rescue officials continue to assess the full extent of the damage, officials are warning people to avoid swollen rivers and be vigilant for further landslides that could occur any time, but particular under rainy conditions.

More than 200 public schools remain closed for the day, including in Nagano, where the Chikuma River burst its banks, wreaking havoc in the area, local officials said.

Transportation services have largely returned to normal, although disruptions on the Shinkansen bullet train services between Tokyo and Kanazawa will continue owing to numerous trains and carriages being inundated by floodwater in a rail yard in Nagano Prefecture.


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