Japan – Typhoon Hagibis Leaves Over 40 Dead

At least 42 people have died in Typhoon Hagibis in Japan after the storm brought torrential rain that triggered landslides and floods. Another 15 people are still missing and 198 were injured.

Flood rescues after torrential rain from Typhoon Hagibis in Japan, October 2019. Photo: Government of Japan

Japanese public broadcaster NHK reported 13 fatalities in Fukushima Prefecture, 8 in Miyagi Prefecture, 5 in Kanagawa Prefecture, 4 in Tochigi Prefecture, 4 in Gunma Prefecture, 2 in Saitama Prefecture, 2 in Shizuoka Prefecture, and 1 in each of Iwate, Nagano, Ibaraki and Chiba prefectures.

Thousands of people have evacuated their homes, with many staying in temporary shelters set up by authorities. Japan’s Fire and Disaster Management Agency (FDMA) said that as of late 13 October, 135,212 people were accommodated in 4,238 shelters across 23 prefectures. Over 76,000 people were in 1,044 shelters in Tokyo.

The storm brought record-breaking rainfall, with at least 10 locations receiving more than 550mm of rain in a 24 hour period. Japan’s Meteorological Agency reported that the town of Hakone in Kanagawa prefecture recorded 942.5mm of rain in 24 hours to 12 October. Yugashima in Izu City, Shizuoka Prefecture, recorded 717.5 mm during the same period. Fudai, a village in Iwate Prefecture, recorded 236.5mm of rain in just 3 hours early on 13 October.

Wide areas of central and eastern Japan were left under water. Flooding from the Chikuma river in Nagano Prefecture, northwest of Tokyo, was so deep it completely covered houses along its banks. Japan’s Geospatial Information Authority said that flooding was around 2 to 3 metres deep in many parts of the district of Hoyasu and up to 4.3 metres deep in the district of Akanuma.

By the evening of 13 October a total of 21 rivers had broken their banks in 24 locations, according to the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism. A further 142 rivers across 15 prefectures were above danger levels. Levees at 10 locations along 9 rivers collapsed.

Hagibis also brought winds of 180 km per hour (112 mph) and gusts of up to 252 km/h (156 mph). By 13 October about 425,000 homes had lost power.

Prime Minister Abe said that over 110,000 personnel from police, fire service, coast guard and military have been deployed to affected areas. That total includes over 30,000 personnel from Japan’s Self Defence Forces (SDF) along with 8 ships and about 130 aircraft, deployed in 24 locations. As of 14 October SDF had rescued over 1,500 people.

Flood rescues after torrentail rain from Typhoon Hagibis in Japan, October 2019. Photo: Government of Japan

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