TOKYO (AFP) – Japan’s military scrambled Sunday to rescue people trapped by flooding after powerful Typhoon Hagibis ripped across the country, killing at least 11 people and leaving more than a dozen missing.
The storm’s heavy rain triggered deadly landslides and caused rivers to burst their banks. The destruction forced Rugby World Cup organisers to cancel the third match of the tournament though the key Japan-Scotland clash will go ahead.
By Sunday morning, the significantly weakened storm had moved back off land, but serious flooding was reported in central Japan’s Nagano, where a burst levee sent water from the Chikuma river gushing into residential neighbourhoods, flooding homes up to the second floor.
Japan’s military deployed helicopters to rescue people seen standing on balconies waving towels to attract attention.
“Overnight, we issued evacuation orders to 427 households, 1,417 individuals,” Yasuhiro Yamaguchi, an emergency official in Nagano city, told AFP, adding that it was unclear how many homes had been affected.
Aerial footage showed a row of bullet trains half-submerged i at a depot in Nagano.
Hagibis smashed into the main Japanese island of Honshu around 7:00 pm (1000 GMT) Saturday as one of the most violent typhoons in recent years, with wind gusts of up to 216 kilometres per hour.
Well before making landfall, the outer bands of the storm claimed their first victim, a driver whose van was flipped over in the strong gusts.
National broadcaster NHK said at least 99 people had been injured and more than a dozen were missing after the storm.