Typhoon lashes South Korea after battering Japan

SEOUL (AP) — A powerful typhoon damaged buildings, flooded roads and knocked out power to thousands of homes in South Korea yesterday after battering islands in southern Japan and injuring dozens of people.

The Korea Meteorological Administration said Typhoon Haishen was passing waters off the eastern coastal city of Sokcho yesterday afternoon after barrelling through South Korea’s southern and eastern regions.

The typhoon was weakening, with its maximum winds measured at 108 kilometres per hour after blowing at 144 kilometres in the morning, and it was forecast to be downgraded to a tropical storm within 12 hours.

Japan’s Fire and Disaster Management Agency said at least 38 people were injured, five of them seriously, after Haishen lashed southwestern Japan over the weekend with strong winds and rain. Schools and department stores were closed in Hiroshima and other cities in the country’s southwest.

In South Korea, cars struggled to navigate flooded roads in Ulsan and other coastal cities such as Busan, Sokcho and Gangneung. Emergency workers scrambled to clean up toppled trees and damaged traffic signs, buildings, and other structures. The Ministry of the Interior and Safety said a person in Busan was injured after a car flipped in strong winds, but it didn’t immediately provide further reports of casualties.

Hundreds of flights in and out of the southern island province of Jeju and across the mainland were cancelled. Some bridges and railroad sections were shut down, thousands of fishing boats and other vessels were moved to safety, and more than 1,600 residents in the southern mainland regions were evacuated due to the possibility of landslides and other concerns.

Workers as of yesterday morning had restored power to 11,523 of the 17,620 households that had lost electricity in the southern mainland areas and Jeju.

Haishen plowed through Okinawa and other southern Japanese islands over the weekend. Traffic was still paralysed in places, bullet trains were suspended and most domestic flights in and out of airports in southwestern Japan were cancelled yesterday.

The roof of a car factory is left on a sidewalk after a typhoon hit Fukuoka, southwestern Japan. PHOTO: AP