Two dead, thousands without power after Typhoon Talas slams Japan

By: AFP
Published: 11:24 AM, 25 Sep, 2022
Two dead, thousands without power after Typhoon Talas slams Japan
Caption: High waves hit the shore in Aki area of Kochi Prefecture.
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Thousands were without running water and power in central Japan on Sunday after Typhoon Talas dumped record rains on the region, triggering floods and landslides, and leaving at least two dead.

The body of a man in Kakegawa city, Shizuoka region, was pulled from what remained of his house on Saturday after a landslide destroyed it, a regional disaster management official told AFP.

"Another male (in neighbouring Fukuroi city) was driving to his home (Saturday) when the water level rose and his vehicle apparently stopped. While the individual tried to walk home, he was believed to have died," the official said.

Another man was still missing in Kawanehoncho town in Shizuoka after his vehicle fell into a hole that opened up in the roadway, he said, adding that three others suffered minor injuries.

Typhoon Talas battered central Japan on Friday and Saturday as it swept by just off the Pacific coast, dumping more than 40 centimetres (16 inches) of rain in a 24-hour period in communities in Shizuoka, according to Japan Meteorological Agency.

It was downgraded to a depression Saturday morning before moving back out to the Pacific.

Heavy rain from the storm sparked landslides, including in remote mountains in Shizuoka, causing several electricity pylons to fall and snap, resulting in as many as 120,000 households losing power Saturday.

As of Sunday afternoon, 2,910 households in Shizuoka and the neighbouring Gifu region were still without power, according to regional utility Chubu Electric Power.

"As for those areas where restoration crews are not able to reach due to blocked roads after landslides, we will make progress while analysing the conditions of the landslides," the utility said.

Around 55,000 households in Shizuoka were without running water after debris clogged a water inlet.

Municipal officials were working with the coastguard to provide clean water to residents.

"Currently, we are working to remove debris from a water inlet. But for now we are unable to give any estimate as to when it can be restored," the regional government said in a statement Sunday morning.

Japan routinely experiences severe damage from typhoons in summer and autumn.

Last weekend, Typhoon Nanmadol slammed into southwestern Japan, killing four people and injuring 147 others.

Super Typhoon Noru barrels towards Philippines

A super typhoon barrelled towards the Philippines Sunday and was on track to slam into the heavily populated main island of Luzon, forcing the evacuations of coastal towns, authorities said.

Super Typhoon Noru was packing maximum sustained wind speeds of 195 kilometres (121 miles) an hour after an unprecedented "explosive intensification", the state weather forecaster said.

The storm, the strongest to hit the Philippines this year, is expected to continue strengthening as it makes landfall around 80 kilometres northeast of the sprawling capital Manila in the afternoon or evening local time.

"We ask residents living in danger zones to adhere to calls for evacuation whenever necessary," Philippine National Police chief General Rodolfo Azurin said.

The Philippines is regularly ravaged by storms, with scientists warning they are becoming more powerful as the world gets warmer because of climate change.

Weather forecaster Robb Gile said Noru's rapid intensification as it neared land was "unprecedented". The agency said it increased by 90 kilometres per hour in 24 hours.

"Typhoons are like engines -- you need a fuel and an exhaust to function," said Gile.

"In the case of Karding, it has a good fuel because it has plenty of warm waters along its track and then there is a good exhaust in the upper level of the atmosphere -- so it's a good recipe for explosive intensification," he said, using the local name for the storm.

- Calm before the storm -

Noru comes nine months after another super typhoon devastated swathes of the country, killing more than 400 people and leaving hundreds of thousands homeless.

Residents in several municipalities in Quezon province, where this latest storm could make a direct hit, were being evacuated from their homes, said Mel Avenilla from the provincial disaster office.

In the neighbouring province of Aurora, residents of Dingalan municipality were being forced to seek shelter.

"People living near the coast have been told to evacuate. We live away from the coast so we're staying put so far. We're more worried about the water from the mountains," said Rhea Tan, 54, a restaurant manager in Dingalan.

Tan said residents were securing the roofs of their houses and boats were being taken to higher ground while the weather was still calm.

"We're even more anxious if the weather is very calm, because that's the usual indicator of a strong typhoon before it hits land," Tan added.

Noru could have wind speeds of up to 205 kilometres per hour when it makes landfall, the weather bureau said.

It is expected to weaken to a typhoon as it sweeps across central Luzon, before entering the South China Sea on Monday, heading towards Vietnam.

The weather bureau warned of dangerous storm surges, widespread flooding and landslides as the storm dumps heavy rain.

It could damage farmlands in the heavily agricultural region, as well as inundate villages.

Classes in some areas have been cancelled for Monday.

The Philippines -- ranked among the most vulnerable nations to the impacts of climate change -- is hit by an average of 20 storms every year.

AFP

Agence France-Presse is an international news agency.