News ID: 260212
Published: 0158 GMT October 14, 2019

Japan searches for survivors as Typhoon Hagibis death toll hits 56

Japan searches for survivors as Typhoon Hagibis death toll hits 56
AFP

Tens of thousands of rescuers worked into the night Monday to find survivors of a powerful typhoon in Japan that killed at least 56 people, as fresh rain threatened to hamper their efforts.

Typhoon Hagibis crashed into the country on Saturday night, unleashing high winds and torrential rain across 36 of the country's 47 prefectures, triggering landslides and catastrophic flooding, AFP reported.

The death toll from the disaster has risen steadily, with national broadcaster NHK saying Monday night that 56 people had been killed and 15 were still missing.

It cited its own tally based on local reporting. The government has given lower numbers but is still updating its information.

"Even now, many people are still unaccounted for in the disaster-hit area," Prime Minister Abe Shinzo told an emergency disaster meeting on Monday.

"Units are trying their best to search for and rescue them, working day and night," Abe said.

Later in the day, he pledged to "do whatever the country can" for victims and survivors, ordering the defense ministry to call up to 1,000 reserve troops to join 31,000 active forces in search operations.

But rescue work that was continuing into the night risked being hampered by additional rain falling in central and eastern Japan that officials warned could cause fresh flooding and landslides.

In Nagano, one of the worst-hit regions, officials said they were working cautiously.

The death toll continued to rise into Monday evening, with bodies pulled from flooded cars and homes, swollen rivers and landslides.

The casualties included a municipal worker whose car was overcome by floodwaters and at least seven crew from a cargo ship that sank in Tokyo Bay on Saturday night, a coast guard spokesman said.

Four others, from China, Myanmar and Vietnam, were rescued when the boat sank and the coast guard was still searching for a last crew member.

Hagibis packed wind gusts of up to 216 kilometers (134 miles) per hour, but it was the heavy rains that caused the most damage.

 

   
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