TOKYO (AFP) – At least 26 people were killed by powerful Typhoon Hagibis, local media reported yesterday, a day after the ferocious storm slammed into Japan, unleashing unprecedented rain and catastrophic flooding.
Over 100,000 rescuers were working into the night to reach people trapped after torrential rain caused landslides and filled rivers until they burst their banks.
The destruction forced the Rugby World Cup to cancel a third tournament match, though a key Japan-Scotland fixture was ruled safe to play. The storm moved off land yesterday morning, and while it largely spared the capital, it left a trail of destruction in surrounding regions.
The government put the death toll at 14, with 11 people missing, but local media said at least 26 people had been killed, and at least 15 were still unaccounted for.
Rivers overspilled their banks at nearly a dozen locations, including in central Japan’s Nagano, where a levee breach sent water from the Chikuma river gushing into residential neighbourhoods, flooding homes up to the second floor.
Hagibis smashed into the main Japanese island of Honshu last Saturday night as one of the most violent typhoons in recent years, with wind gusts of up to 216 kilometres per hour.