New Delhi: Two people were killed and nearly seven million told to evacuate to safer places as the deadly typhoon Hagibis hit Japan on Saturday. Highest level of disaster warning was issued for the typhoon, Japan’s strongest in 60 years, which triggered ‘unprecedented’ downpours that led to floods and landslides.
According to reports, 30 people were injured, out of whom four are said to be critical. In areas affected by the typhoon, 1,80,000 people are forced to live without power.
The typhoon has also hit sporting events in the country, with two matches of the Rugby World Cup cancelled and the start of the Japanese Grand Prix delayed. All flights at the capital Tokyo’s Haneda International Airport, too, have been grounded.
According to the Japanese Meteorological Agency (JMA), the typhoon, whose name means ‘speed’ in the Filipino language, arrived in Japan just before 7 PM local time, making its landfall at the Izu peninsula, near Tokyo. The agency said that the typhoon has winds with speed of up to 216 kilometres per hour.
Addressing the reporters, the JMA said that unprecedented rains had hit cities, towns and villages, leading to the highest level of emergency warning being issued. It also confirmed that two landslides had already taken place. The agency further forecast 20 inches of rain to the Tokyo area within the next 24 hours which could lead to further swelling of rivers which, by Saturday afternoon, were already close to breaching their danger mark.
Compounding the misery of the residents of Tokyo was a 5.7 magnitude earthquake which jolted the Chiba-Tokyo area.
Around 20 typhoons hit Japan in a year, with most lashing it in early summer or late autumn. Smaller typhoons, however, pass over Tokyo without causing much damage.