Typhoon Hagibis Claims 37 Lives


Typhoon Hagibis claims 37 lives

People in Japan are dealing with the aftermath of Typhoon Hagibis. The death toll stands at 37 as cleanup efforts are underway in many areas.

In addition to the fatalities, 17 people are listed as missing, and 189 were injured during the weekend storm.

Meteorological officials say up to 40 percent of the yearly rainfall was recorded in only a day or two in many areas.

Japan's Land and Transport Ministry reports levees along 21 waterways collapsed, including the Chikuma River in Nagano Prefecture, northwest of Tokyo. Roads are completely submerged with muddy water.

Houses across the region were flooded with two to three meters of water. "I have no idea how to sweep away this mud. It is a real problem," said one resident.

A railway bridge collapsed into the river and floodwaters disrupted railway services. A maintenance depot for the Hokuriku Shinkansen bullet train line was flooded.

East Japan Railway reports 10 trains, with a total of 120 carriages, were damaged by an estimated four meters of water.

A nursing care facility in Saitama Prefecture, north of Tokyo, was flooded. More than 220 residents and staff were at risk, but caregivers acted quickly.

"We started evacuating the residents right after seeing bubbles of water popping up from under the floor," one of the caregivers said.

As the evacuation to higher ground was underway, the power went out and elevators shut down. Workers had to carry the residents upstairs and managed to ensure everyone escaped unharmed.

In Fukushima prefecture, a woman in her 70s suffered a fatal fall during a helicopter rescue when rescuers forgot to secure a safety harness.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe ordered officials to deploy more pumper trucks to drain flooded areas.

"Rescuing people is of the utmost importance," he said. "More than 110,000 personnel from the police, fire department, Coast Guard and Self-Defense Forces are taking part in search and rescue operations. I'd like them to work through the night."

In a gesture of good will, Canada's rugby players pitched in with cleanup activities in Kamaishi, Iwate Prefecture after their game on Sunday was called off.

Relief efforts are ongoing as the full extent of the damage gets assessed. More rain is expected to fall on Monday afternoon in affected areas. Authorities are urging people to remain cautious near swollen rivers and be on the alert for possible landslides.