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Sunday, September 4, 2011

Typhoon Causes Landslide in Japan

I'm afraid we have more bad weather related news in Japan.

Thanks to record rain and mudslides from powerful Typhoon Talas, at least 20 people have died with another 50 missing as the storm moved slowly northward past the country's western coast dumping more rain than was expected, with more on the way. 

Evacuation orders and advisories were issued to 460,000 people in western and central Japan. At least 3,600 people were stranded by flooded rivers, landslides and collapsed bridges that were hampering rescue efforts, Kyodo News agency reported.

It's Japan's worst storm since 2004 when 98 people either dead or missing, the Daily Yomiuri newspaper reports.

The current storm damaged Nijo-jo (Nijo castle) in Kyoto-shi (City of Kyoto) in western Japan, tearing a large piece of plaster from the gate wall. The castle, a popular tourist destination, is designated an important cultural treasure.

Television station NHK showed a bridge swept away after intense rain caused a river to swell with brown torrents. People holding umbrellas waded through knee-deep water in city streets and residential areas. Cars were washed away.

The center of the season's 12th typhoon was moving slowly north across the Sea of Japan off the country's west coast, the Japan Meteorological Agency said. It crossed the southern island of Shikoku and the central part of the main island of Honshu overnight Saturday, September 3, 2011 and is hundreds of miles from Japan's tsunami-ravaged northeastern coast.

Because of the storm's slow speed, the agency warned that heavy rains and strong winds were likely to continue and could cause more flooding and landslides. It issued landslide warnings in nearly all of the country's prefectures.

Fears have grown of additional damage from more mudslides because the ground was already soaked.

Three homes were buried in a landslide in Wakayama-ken (Wakayama Prefecture) with one woman whose identity was still being confirmed died, four remained missing, while a 14-year old girl was saved from the debris, police said.

Overall in the hard-hit Wakayama Prefecture, 10 people are dead and 32 people were missing, they said.
Seven people were reported missing in nearby Nara-ken (Nara Prefecture) after their homes were swept down a river, NHK said.

Files compiled by Andrew Joseph

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