More victims, more damage found in typhoon aftermath
The toll of death and destruction from a typhoon that tore through central and northern Japan climbed yesterday as the Government said it was considering approving a special budget for the disaster response and eventual reconstruction.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told a parliamentary session that the number of deaths tied to Typhoon Hagibis had climbed to 53 and was expected to rise as at least another nine people are presumed dead. Japan’s Kyodo News agency, citing its own tally, put the death toll at 69.
Abe pledged to do the utmost for the safety and rescue of those missing and those who had to evacuate.
“We put the people’s lives first,” he said.
Hagibis hit Japan’s main island on Saturday with strong winds and historic rainfall that caused more than 200 rivers to overflow, leaving thousands of homes flooded, damaged, or without power. Rescue crews on Tuesday were still searching for those missing, thought to number about 20.
Some 34,000 homes were without power, and 110,000 lacked running water. More than 30,000 people were still at shelters as of late Monday, according to the Cabinet Office’s latest tally.
Business appeared nearly back to normal in central Tokyo, and residents in areas where floodwater subsided started cleaning up. Lives, however, remained paralysed in Nagano, Fukushima, and other hard-hit areas that were still inundated.
Some residents in Nagano returned to their homes, only to find them uninhabitable.
Retired carpenter Toshitaka Yoshimura, who grew up in the Tsuno district of Nagano, was stunned when he returned to his home after staying at an evacuation centre during the storm. His house was a mess. Doors were knocked out, his handmade furniture was tossed around and damaged, and everything from a futon to electronics was broken and covered with mud.
“I put a lot of effort in this house. I made all the furniture with my wife. Now look what happened in one day,” he said, his voice trembling with emotion. “Now this makes me want to cry.”
At least some of his memorable photos with his family and relatives were intact, along with toys and games that his younger relatives played with when they gathered at his house.
“I’m glad they survived, at least,” said his nephew, Kazuki Yoshimura. “Perhaps we can still do something about the house, but nothing can be more precious than life.”