Two days after the passing of central Japan’s powerful Typhoon Hagibis, and under threat of new rains, tens of thousands of rescuers are still searching for survivors, which killed at least 56 people, according to reports. A new record given by the NHK public television channel indicates that fifteen people are still missing.
Hagibis touched down on Saturday night from the Pacific, accompanied by gusts of nearly 200 km/h and preceded by torrential rains that affected 36 of the country’s 47 prefectures and caused landslides as well as flooding of many courses.
Even today, many people are missing. The teams are doing their best to search for them and try to save them by working day and night, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said during an emergency meeting.
While more than 110,000 rescuers, including 31,000 Japanese Self-Defense Force soldiers, were on the ground, Japanese weather forecasters are predicting new rains in central and eastern Japan and warn of the danger of further landslides.
Rain is expected today in areas hit by the disaster, said Yoshihide Suga on Monday during a press conference, the government spokesman, who called to remain fully vigilant.
In the Nagano region, one of the hardest hit, it was raining already and rainfall was expected to intensify.
A total of 142 rivers have overflowed, mainly in northern and eastern Japan, media reports said.
In the central region of Nagano in particular, a dike dropped, discharging the waters of the Chikuma River into a residential area and flooding the homes to the second floor.
In some places, helicopters helicoptered refugee residents on their balconies or rooftops; Elsewhere rescuers were sneaking aboard boats on the muddy waters between homes to free some stranded people.
Everything in my house was swept away by the water before my eyes, I wondered if it was a nightmare or the reality –a resident of Nagano told the public channel NHK.
I think I’m lucky to be alive, she added.
Throughout the affected areas, workers and inhabitants cleared mountains of mud.
The victims of the typhoon hagibis include at least seven crew members of a cargo ship that sank Saturday night into the raging waters of Tokyo Bay. Four others were saved and one twelfth were still missing, said a coastguard.
Tens of thousands of people were in shelters without any guarantee of being able to return to their homes soon.
Some 75,900 households in the country are without electricity, and about 120,000 have no access to safe drinking water.