11 dead, 3 missing in northern Japan following powerful typhoon


TOKYO,  (Xinhua) — Eleven people have been killed and three remained unaccounted for after Typhoon Lionrock lashed Japan‘s north and northeast regions a day earlier, local media reported on Wednesday.

Of the victims, nine bodies been recovered in the northeast of the country, with the deceased being found near a nursing home in the town of Iwaizumi, in Iwate Prefecture, according to the local police.

A body of a man has also been found near a river in the same town, and that of a woman in the city of Kuji in the prefecture was discovered among rubble left in the storm’s wake.

Local police officers said the bodies of nine elderly people were found near a group care facility called Ranran, with public broadcaster NHK reporting that emergency calls were received following another facility in the Ranran complex being flooded as a result of the typhoon.

According to the land ministry, the Omotogawa River, close to the facility, burst its banks following torrential rain on Tuesday night. The bodies were found on the banks of the river, local media reported.

As many as 80 people had also been airlifted to safety from a facility near to the care home, local reports said, although they were not believed to be in a serious condition.

Wide swathes inland remained flooded Wednesday, meanwhile, in Japan’s north, the weather agency said, as parts of Iwate and the northernmost prefecture of Hokkaido saw rainfall reach more than 300 mm since Monday, surpassing the peak for the average seen in a single month in August.

The town of Minamifurano in Hokkaido logged 500 mm of precipitation, the weather agency said, marking a new record for the region, and 350 people were stranded in the town after a levee collapsed as a result of the storm.

Three people remained missing in the wake of the typhoon, which caused the issuance of more than 400,000 evacuation advisories in the Tohoku area, with one of the missing believed to be driving his car when it plunged into a river. Ten people have been injured across four prefectures in the north, according to the latest reports, with local officials believing the number will likely rise.

The typhoon disrupted major transportation networks as of Tuesday night, with more than 100 flights scheduled to and from airports in Tohoku and Hokkaido cancelled, as well as ferry services in the east and northeast regions of the country.

The typhoon was downgraded to a tropical storm as it made its way out to the Sea of Japan on Tuesday evening, the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) said.

Lionrock was the 10th typhoon of the season and the first one since record keeping began to make landfall from the Pacific in the Tohoku region.

The JMA has issued alerts for people in the affected areas for more rivers bursting their banks, flooding, high waves and mudslides, and has also warned of the possibility of lightning strikes and tornados due to continued unable atmospheric conditions in the region.