Japan – 11 Dead After Typhoon Lionrock Causes Floods and Landslides

At least 11 people are dead after torrential rain from Typhoon Lionrock left towns flooded across northern Japan.

Typhoon Lionrock made landfall on 30 August near the city of Ofunato, Iwate Prefecture, a city known for the damage it suffered during the 2011 Tōhoku earthquake and tsunami. The 2011 disaster left more than 18,000 people dead along Japan’s northeastern coast.

Lionrock has left thousands of homes without power. Flights have been cancelled and traffic disrupted throughout the northern areas of the country. Evacuation orders have been issued and Japan’s Self-Defense Force have been called in to help rescue and recovery efforts.

Over the next 24 hours rain may still affect several northern parts of the country, and red warnings for floods and landslides are in effect for areas of Iwate and Hokkaido.

Severe weather warnings in Japan, 31 August, 2016. Image: Japan Meteorological Agency
Severe weather warnings in Japan, 31 August, 2016. Image: Japan Meteorological Agency

Iwate

Nine of the fatalities were elderly residents at a nursing home in the town of Iwaizumi, Iwate prefecture, Honshu island. Local news reports say that the nursing home was buried in mud and flood debris after a nearby river broke its banks.

The body of another victim was found in a separate incident in Iwaizumi. The eleventh victim died in the town of Kuji, also in Iwate prefecture. Japan’s Fire and Disaster Management Agency (FDMA), say that almost 500 homes have been flooded.

According to Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) figures, 106mm of rain fell at Kuji in 24 hours on 30 August, with 81mm falling within 3 hours between 16:00 and 20:00. In Yamagata, 158.5mm of rain fell during 30 August, with 115 mm of it falling within 3 hours between 16:00 and 20:00.

Hokkaido

Severe flooding has also been reported on the island of Hokkaido, where rivers, including the Sorachi, broke their banks. Local media report that the flooding has isolated towns and trapped people in their homes. According to FDMA, one person is still missing in the floods in Hokkaido, where three buildings have been completely destroyed and a further two partially destroyed.

FDMA also report that at least 3 people have been seriously injured as the storm affected other areas of the country, including the prefectures of Aomori, Miyagi, Akita and Fukushima.

Typhoon Lionrock over Japan, August 2016. Image: NASA
Typhoon Lionrock heads towards Japan, August 2016. Image: NASA

Flood Summary

Last updated: September 12, 2016
Event
Typhoon Lionrock, Japan, China, North Korea and Russian Far East, August 2016
Date
August 29 to September 12, 2016
Type
Inland flood, Landslide, River flood
Cause
Extreme rainfall
Typhoon Lionrock made landfall on 30 August near the city of Ofunato, Iwate Prefecture, Japan. The storm caused heavy rain causing deadly floods and landslides. Authorities in North Korea reported severe flooding in North Hamgyong Province from 29 August. In China, Lionrock caused flooding in the provinces of Heilongjiang, Jilin, central and northern Liaoning and eastern Inner Mongolia from 29 August, affecting 950,000 people. Flooding was also reported in Primorsky Krai in the Russian Far East.

Locations

A - Iwate Prefecture (Japan)
B - Hokkaido Prefecture
C - Jilin (China)
D - North Hamgyong, North Korea (North Korea)
E - Primorsky Krai, Russia (Russian Federation)

Magnitude

Rainfall level
106 mm in 24 hours
Kuji, Japan - August 29 to August 30, 2016
Rainfall level
158.5 mm in 24 hours
Yamagata, Japan - August 29 to August 30, 2016

Damages

Fatalities
11 people
Iwaizumi and Kuji, Japan - August 30 to August 31, 2016
9 of the fatalities were elderly residents at a nursing home in the town of Iwaizumi, Iwate prefecture
Evacuated
46,000
Jilin Province, China - August 29 to September 2, 2016
Fatalities
133 people
North Hamgyong Province, North Korea - August 29 to September 12, 2016
Evacuated
107,000
North Hamgyong Province, North Korea - August 29 to September 12, 2016