Typhoon toll rises to 49 dead

TYPHOON TERROR — Photo taken from a Kyodo News helicopter on Sept. 4 shows houses inundated in Kiho, Mie Prefecture, as powerful Typhoon Talas crossed western Japan. Kyodo News photo

OSAKA (Kyodo) — Rescue workers continued their struggle Sept. 7 to reach about 480 people who remain cut off five days after a powerful typhoon wreaked havoc on the Kii Peninsula in western Japan, with the death toll rising to 49 and restoration of water and power supplies still a priority.

The death toll from Typhoon Talas, the worst storm to hit Japan since 2004, rose by one overnight to 49, while 55 remain missing, according to a Kyodo News tally based on announcements by local governments.

Police were also trying to confirm whether another body found in Totsukawa, Nara Prefecture, on Sept. 7 belongs to any of the missing.

Meanwhile, another tropical cyclone, Typhoon Kulap, was observed Sept. 7 traveling slowly north-northeast off the south of Japan in the Pacific, packing winds of up to 90 kilometers (55.9 miles) per hour. The atmospheric pressure at its center was 1,000 hectopascals, according to the Japan Meteorological Agency.

With around 500 police officers and about 2,000 Ground Self-Defense Force members mobilized for search, rescue and relief efforts, the number of people cut off in Nara and Wakayama prefectures was down to 480 as of the morning of Sept. 7, compared to 2,480 the previous afternoon.

Separately, a rescue team has been assigned to confirm the whereabouts of 50 residents of the city of Shingu and the town of Nachikatsuura in Wakayama, who are not included in the tally for the missing.

In addition to search and rescue operations, the GSDF used 12 helicopters to continue airlifting emergency supplies to areas cut off by roads blocked or severed by landslides. It also mobilized 19 water tankers to districts suffering from outages after the typhoon significantly damaged water facilities.

Insufficient water for drinking, washing and lavatory use has raised concerns about sanitary conditions in stricken areas still covered extensively by mud and rubble.

In Mie Prefecture, a landslide believed to have been triggered by the typhoon buried part of the Kumano Kodo ancient pilgrimage trail, officials said.



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