Rescue efforts underway after typhoon rains flood Japan

Residents on a rubber boat are rescued as they were stranded by Typhoon Hagibis, in Iwaki, Fukushima prefecture, northern Japan, Sunday, Oct. 13, 2019. Rescue efforts for people stranded in flooded areas are in full force after a powerful typhoon dashed heavy rainfall and winds through a widespread area of Japan, including Tokyo.(Kyodo News via AP)Residents on a rubber boat are rescued as they were stranded by Typhoon Hagibis, in Iwaki, Fukushima prefecture, northern Japan, Sunday, Oct. 13, 2019. Rescue efforts for people stranded in flooded areas are in full force after a powerful typhoon dashed heavy rainfall and winds through a widespread area of Japan, including Tokyo.(Kyodo News via AP)
Residential area, center, are submerged in muddy waters after an embankment of the Chikuma River, top right, broke because of Typhoon Hagibis, in Nagano, central Japan, Sunday, Oct. 13, 2019. Rescue efforts for people stranded in flooded areas are in full force after a powerful typhoon dashed heavy rainfall and winds through a widespread area of Japan, including Tokyo.(Yohei Kanasashi/Kyodo News via AP)Residential area, center, are submerged in muddy waters after an embankment of the Chikuma River, top right, broke because of Typhoon Hagibis, in Nagano, central Japan, Sunday, Oct. 13, 2019. Rescue efforts for people stranded in flooded areas are in full force after a powerful typhoon dashed heavy rainfall and winds through a widespread area of Japan, including Tokyo.(Yohei Kanasashi/Kyodo News via AP)
People clean their house after Typhoon Hagibis hit the area in Kawasaki, near Tokyo, Japan, Sunday, Oct. 13, 2019. Rescue efforts for people stranded in flooded areas are in full force after a powerful typhoon dashed heavy rainfall and winds through a widespread area of Japan, including Tokyo.(Yohei Nishimura/Kyodo News via AP)People clean their house after Typhoon Hagibis hit the area in Kawasaki, near Tokyo, Japan, Sunday, Oct. 13, 2019. Rescue efforts for people stranded in flooded areas are in full force after a powerful typhoon dashed heavy rainfall and winds through a widespread area of Japan, including Tokyo.(Yohei Nishimura/Kyodo News via AP)
People look at the house damaged by landslide caused by Typhoon Hagibis in Sagamihara, near Tokyo, Japan, Sunday, Oct. 13, 2019. Rescue efforts for people stranded in flooded areas are in full force after a powerful typhoon dashed heavy rainfall and winds through a widespread area of Japan, including Tokyo.(Kyodo News via AP)People look at the house damaged by landslide caused by Typhoon Hagibis in Sagamihara, near Tokyo, Japan, Sunday, Oct. 13, 2019. Rescue efforts for people stranded in flooded areas are in full force after a powerful typhoon dashed heavy rainfall and winds through a widespread area of Japan, including Tokyo.(Kyodo News via AP)

Helicopters plucked people from their flooded homes on Sunday as rescue efforts went into full force in wide areas of Japan, including Tokyo, after a powerful typhoon unleashed heavy rainfall, leaving at least four dead and 17 missing.

Typhoon Hagibis made landfall south of Tokyo Saturday and moved northward. More than 100 people were also injured in its wake, according to public broadcaster NHK, as the numbers kept growing.

News footage showed a rescue helicopter hovering in a flooded area in Nagano prefecture where an embankment of the Chikuma River broke. The chopper plucked those stranded on the second floor of a home submerged in muddy waters.

A stretch of Fukushima, in the city of Date, was also flooded with only rooftops of residential homes visible in some areas. Parts of nearby Miyagi prefecture were also under water.

The Tama River, which runs by Tokyo, overflowed its banks.

Authorities warned of a risk of mudslides. Among the reported deaths were those whose homes were buried in landslides. Other fatalities included people who got swept away by raging rivers.

Some 286,000 homes were without electricity. Several train service in the Tokyo area resumed early morning, although others were undergoing safety checks and were expected to restart later Sunday.

Ruling party politician Fumio Kishida said the government will do its utmost in rescue operations, including making sure that those who moved to shelters were taken care of.

He acknowledged Japan’s power grids need to be strengthened so people in disaster areas can rely on timely information.

“So many risks remain, and it is a reality we must stay on guard,” Kishida said on an NHK TV news talk show. “We must do our utmost. In these times, a disaster can hit anytime.”

The World Rugby Cup match between Namibia and Canada, scheduled for Sunday in Kamaishi, northern Japan, was cancelled as a precautionary measure.

All other matches scheduled for Saturday had been cancelled. Stores and amusement parks had been closed.

As the typhoon bore down on Saturday with heavy rains and strong winds, the usually crowded train stations and streets of Tokyo were deserted with people advised to stay indoors. But life was quickly returning to normal under crisp clear skies Sunday.

About 17,000 police and military troops were on standby for rescue operations.

Evacuation centres had been set up in coastal towns with tens of thousands seeking shelter. Kyodo News service said evacuation warnings had been issued to more than 6 million people.

The typhoon disrupted a three-day weekend in Japan that includes Sports Day on Monday. Qualifying for a Formula One auto race in Suzuka was pushed from Saturday to Sunday.

The authorities had repeatedly warned Hagibis was on par with a typhoon that hit the Tokyo region in 1958. But the safety infrastructure that Japan’s modernization had brought were apparent. The typhoon six decades ago had left more than 1,200 people dead and half a million houses flooded.

Yuri Kageyama, The Associated Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The ski hill is clearly marked as a no snowmobiling zone, but that hasn’t deterred sledders from ruining it for the second time this season (Patrick Gunderson photo)
Tweedsmuir Ski Hill wrecked by sledders for second time this season

The Club is respectfully requesting snowmobilers stay off the ski hill

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
COVID-19 cases climb to 52 as first vaccinations to begin Jan. 19

VCH has indicated vaccines will be available for off-reserve elders, but has not provided specifics

NES hosts grades 5 - 7 in Hagensborg (file photo)
COVID-19 exposure confirmed at Nusatsum Elementary School

The exposure was in grade 5 and took place Jan. 6, 2021

Jeffery Snow has been our community paramedic for the past three years and has worked as a paramedic for over three decades. He is now certified to offer COVID-19 testing to clients (Caitlin Thompson photo)
Bella Coola’s community paramedic can now test people for COVID-19

Jeffery Snow became certified to offer COVID-19 testing on Jan. 13, 2021

The first cases were reported by the Nuxalk EOC on Jan. 7 (file photo)
COVID-19 cases climb to 25 in Bella Coola

The first cases were reported by the Nuxalk EOC on Jan. 7

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry prepares a daily update on the coronavirus pandemic, April 21, 2020. (B.C. Government)
B.C. adjusts COVID-19 vaccine rollout for delivery slowdown

Daily cases decline over weekend, 31 more deaths

B.C.’s Ministry of Advanced Education and Skills Training announced funding to train community mental health workers at four B.C. post-secondary institutions. (Stock photo)
B.C. funding training of mental health workers at four post-secondary institutions

Provincial government says pandemic has intensified need for mental health supports

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
No Pfizer vaccines arriving in Canada next week; feds still expect 4M doses by end of March

More cases of U.K. variant, South African variant found in Canada

Health-care workers wait in line at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Canadians who have had COVID-19 should still get the vaccine, experts say

Pfizer-BioNTech and Moderna vaccines were found to have a 95 per cent efficacy

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

An empty Peel and Sainte-Catherine street is shown in Montreal, Saturday, Jan. 9, 2021, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues in Canada and around the world. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Graham Hughes
Poll finds strong support for COVID-19 curfews despite doubts about effectiveness

The poll suggests 59 per cent remain somewhat or very afraid of contracting COVID-19

A female prisoner sent Langford police officers a thank-you card after she spent days in their custody. (Twitter/West Shore RCMP)
Woman gives Victoria-area jail 4.5-star review in handwritten card to police after arrest

‘We don’t often get thank you cards from people who stay with us, but this was sure nice to see’: RCMP

An elk got his antlers caught up in a zip line in Youbou over the weekend. (Conservation Officer Service Photo)
Elk rescued from zip line in Youbou on Vancouver Island

Officials urge people to manage items on their property that can hurt animals

Most Read