Search and Rescues in Japan Ongoing After Typhoon Hagibis Kills More Than 50, Floods Thousands of Homes

Ron Brackett
Published: October 14, 2019

Search and rescue crews dug through mud and scoured riverbanks Monday in Japan looking for people left missing from powerful Typhoon Hagibis.

At least 55 people were killed, 16 were missing and about 100 were injured, according to the Kyodo News agency.

Many places in southern and central Japan remained flooded Monday or were covered with mud and debris left by torrential rains and overflowing rivers caused by Hagibis. The Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism said 37 rivers in Nagano, Fukushima, Ibaraki and three other prefectures had flooded.

The town of Hakone in Kanagawa Prefecture southwest of Tokyo, received 36.32 inches of rain on Saturday, a record for a calendar day, according to the Japan Meteorological Agency.

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A Japan Self-Defense Force helicopter hovers above submerged residential area after an embankment of the Chikuma River broke because of Typhoon Hagibis, in Nagano, central Japan, Sunday, Oct. 13, 2019.
(Yohei Kanasashi/Kyodo News via AP)

More than 3,400 homes across the country were flooded, and 38,000 people remained in shelters in 17 prefectures, Kyodo News reported.

On Monday, as they had throughout the day Sunday, helicopters hovered over flooded areas, while rescue crews tried to free people from homes buried by landslides.

"The major typhoon has caused immense damage far and wide in eastern Japan," government spokesman Yoshihide Suga told reporters.

The typhoon made landfall in Shizuoka Prefecture about 7 p.m. Saturday with winds nearly 90 mph, the public Japan Broadcasting Corp.

Flooding drove residents from their homes in Nagano, Niigata, Miyagi, Fukushima, Ibaraki, Kanagawa and Saitama prefectures, the Japan Times reported.

“I extend my condolences for all those who lost their lives and offer my sympathy to those who all those impacted by Typhoon (Hagibis),” Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said on Sunday.

A damaged train bridge lies in the swollen Chikuma River in the aftermath of Typhoon Hagibis in Ueda, Nagano Prefecture, on Sunday, Oct. 13, 2019.
(JIJI PRESS/AFP via Getty Images)

In Nagano, 360 people were stranded after a levee on the Chikuma River collapsed.

Rescue helicopters plucked victims from rooftops of flooded homes.

“My father stayed at the neighborhood evacuation center the night before, but he went back to his house around 6 a.m. to check for any damage. He was suddenly trapped inside his house by a rush of floodwater and escaped by climbing to the second floor,” Yusuke Okano, told the Japan Times. “He then called me for help, so I called the rescuers.”

Okano, 39, was waiting for his father to be rescued as he spoke.

“We bought him a new car recently, but it must be covered in mud now because the first floor of his house is completely filled with water. He said he didn’t have anything to eat, so I hope he will be rescued soon.”

The man was safely rescued later in the day.

A car passes overturned vehicles in Nagano, Japan, on Monday, Oct. 14, 2019, in an area affected by flooding after being hit by Typhoon Hagibis.
(Carl Court/Getty Images)

Noriko Kubota, 79, said she was packing to leave her home after officials ordered her to evacuate about 6 a.m. Sunday.

“I was hurrying to pack my stuff when the flood water suddenly rushed into the first floor of my house and the level soon rose to my ankles,” Kubota said. “At that point, I just abandoned everything and ran to the bridge near my house.”

“I waited on the bridge with my neighbors, but the water level increased to the point where it was touching our feet, so I was terrified. I had never experienced something like this before and didn’t really understand what was going on.”

Near Nagano Station, a fleet of bullet trains parked at East Japan Railway Co.'s railyard were swamped.

The company said 10 trains — a third of the bullet trains used for the Hokuriku Shinkansen line — were damaged by the flooding.

More than 375,000 homes were without electricity and 14,000 had no running water on Sunday morning, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told a news conference.

A tornado hit parts of Ichihara in Chiba Prefecture on Saturday, destroying 12 houses and damaging more than 70 others.

Rows of Japan's bullet trains, parked in a facility, sit in a pool of water in Nagano, central Japan, after Typhoon Hagibis hit the city, Sunday, Oct. 13, 2019.
(Yohei Kanasashi/Kyodo News via AP)

A landslide swept away homes in Gunma Prefecture, killing four people.

A 77-year-old woman in Iwaki City in Fukushima Prefecture, fell 130 feet to her death as rescuers lifted her to a helicopter. The Tokyo Fire Department said rescuers forgot to attach the hook of her safety harness.

The Tamagawa River submerged residential areas in Kawasaki in Kanagawa Prefecture.

A Panamanian cargo ship with 12 crew members sank in Tokyo Bay on Saturday night during the storm. Seven crew members were killed, according to coast guard officials, and one remains missing, Kyodo News reported.

Bags of decontaminated waste from the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant washed into the Furumichi River in the city of Tamura in Fukushima Prefecture, the Japan Times reported.

Six bags, each weighing about 1 ton, have been recovered so far. An official said there was no immediate danger to the public.

Information from the Associated Press was included in this report.

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The Weather Company’s primary journalistic mission is to report on breaking weather news, the environment and the importance of science to our lives. This story does not necessarily represent the position of our parent company, IBM.