Typhoon Kills At Least 27 People In Japan

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PostMon Sep 05, 2011 8:00 pm » by Flecktarn


Rescue teams are searching for survivors after a typhoon in western Japan killed at least 27 people and left about 50 unaccounted for, according to officials.
Torrential rain brought by Typhoon Talas, which hit the country on Saturday, triggered floods and landslides that swept away buildings, homes and roads.
Officials warned the number of victims was set to rise, as the continued threat of landslides and damaged access routes hampered rescue efforts.
The typhoon was the deadliest to hit Japan since a storm in 2004 killed nearly 100 people.
The country is still recovering from a tsunami on March 11 that devastated northeastern areas.
In Nachikatsuura, a railway bridge was swept into a river, while TV footage showed splintered trees, crushed houses and cars tossed onto walls and buildings by floodwaters.
Talas has now been downgraded to a tropical storm after it moved over Japan and into the Sea of Japan, the nation's Meteorological Agency said.
The storm came after new Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda was sworn in on Friday, replacing Naoto Kan, who was heavily criticised for Japan's response to the March 11 disaster.
"We will do our best in saving lives and finding the missing," Mr Noda told reporters.
Talas, moving as slow as 6mph (10kph), dumped 6ft (1.8 metres) of rain on a village in Nara prefecture for five days through Sunday - more than Tokyo's annual average rainfall, said the Yomiuri newspaper.
Wakayama prefecture was the hardest-hit region, where 17 people were killed and 28 were still missing.
A fire department official, in Tanabe, Wakayama, said: "We are struggling to get a hold on the current situation... electricity is out and destroyed roads are preventing our vehicles from going into affected areas."
One woman was killed in a mudslide and seven others were missing in the city.
Television footage showed massive landslides crushing wooden houses in mountain communities, with muddy water submerging streets and washing away wooden debris and cars.
A tally by Kyodo News said at least 3,600 were left stranded by landslides and collapsed bridges.
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