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Last Updated: Thursday, 21 October 2004, 22:54 GMT 23:54 UK
Deadly typhoon tears across Japan
Rescuers and Self-Defence Force soldiers, in green, search through a house destroyed by landslides on Awaji island, western Japan, Thursday, Oct. 21, 2004
Authorities have started a mammoth cleaning-up operation
Japan is clearing up after the deadliest typhoon in a decade killed at least 67 people.

At least 21 others are missing after the storm hit on Wednesday.

Typhoon Tokage reached speeds of 229 km/h (142 mph) as it battered the south-west, forcing thousands to evacuate amid the threat of mudslides.

But Tokage had weakened by the time it passed over Japan's capital, Tokyo, where it left little damage before moving out to sea.

"The death toll is likely to keep rising, as we take stock of the damage," National Police Agency spokesman Kojun Chibana said on Thursday.

Television pictures showed powerful gusts uprooting huge trees, cars stranded in flash floods and delivery trucks lying on their sides.

Coastal defences crumbled and houses and cars were swept away by floods.

TYPHOON TOKAGE
Typhoon Tokage in Beppu, Oita Prefecture, south-western Japan, 20 Oct

Near the city of Kyoto, 37 elderly tourists were rescued after spending the night on the roof of their bus, stranded by floods.

Tokage - the Japanese word for lizard - was the 10th major storm to make landfall in Japan this year.

At its peak, it stretched across an 800km (500 mile) radius.

"The main reason why the typhoon caused such huge damage is that its size is big... That means the typhoon affected almost all of Japan for a long time with rains and winds," a Meteorological Agency official told Reuters news agency.

"Such a huge typhoon is very rare," he said.

Many of those killed were either drowned or buried in some of the more than 280 landslides which took their heaviest toll in southern Japan.

Parts of the south, especially in Miyazaki Prefecture, were virtually shut down with public schools closed and transport services suspended.

Some 18,000 people were forced to evacuate, according to broadcaster NHK.

Transport disrupted

Almost 1,000 domestic flights were cancelled, affecting some 127,000 passengers.

Bullet trains linking Tokyo and Osaka were suspended due to heavy rain triggered by the typhoon, but resumed services late on Wednesday.

Map

The meteorological agency warned that waves of up to 9m (30 feet) could hit southern coastlines, and heavy rain would continue to pound parts of southern Kyushu and Shikoku islands into early Thursday.

More than 150 people have died in typhoons so far this season.

Tokage was the deadliest typhoon to strike Japan since 1991 when 62 people were killed.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Hiroyuki Hosoda promised government help for affected areas.

"I would like to express my heartfelt condolences... We will take all possible measures," he told reporters.


Were you affected by typhoon Tokage? Is there much devastation in your area, and what recovery efforts are now underway?

Your comments:

We were lucky and escaped with merely a broken fence, a broken gutter and a roof tile missing. Whilst indoors with the storm shutters closed, some of the gusts of wind made the house vibrate and rattled the glasses in the cupboards, it felt as if the whole house was about to leave the ground. Yesterday morning I was checking the typhoon's progress online when we lost power, an outage that lasted for about 10 hours. Locally cars and lorries were overturned and signs everywhere were bent to the ground like match wood. I imagine my folks feel relieved that they missed this one - they had been over here for our wedding last weekend and travelled back to the UK on Monday.
Miles Essex, Saga, Japan

The typhoon was really scary, it raged from midday until late evening in northern Kyoto prefecture. The power cut out for hours and I'm not surprised that people were killed, today (Thursday) the damage is clear, the schools are flooded and there are landslides everywhere. Each house has a pile of roof ties in front and some houses have lost their sides too. The typhoon reduced many road signs to piles of chewed up metal. It couldn't be more peaceful now though, beautiful sunset.
Michael, Tango town, Kyoto prefecture

What a night
Stephanie Worrall, Hyogo Prefecture, Japan
What a night! We live in the countryside about 30 km from both Kobe and Osaka and Tokage struck in force around 8:00PM after a day of ceaseless rain that left area streams and lakes bursting. The mountain behind our house looks like a bomb site with hundred year old trees strewn like straw. We were trapped at home with no electricity, phone, water or heat for almost 24 hours. The only road out was blocked by massive tree falls. As always, though, the community came together and the farmers brought out their chainsaws and tools. Everyone worked to clear a path for the repair vehicles and finally at 6:30PM we had power! Put away the camping gear and say "Hallelujah" for modern conveniences. At least while they last. The weather report says another typhoon is on the way.
Stephanie Worrall, Sanda, Hyogo Prefecture, Japan

Thankfully, there wasn't much damage in this area. The rivers got fat and swollen but there was little flooding. Schools and many companies closed early owing to storm warnings.
E Gondree, Kariya, Aichi

Fortunately where I live in Osaka once again we got away pretty lightly in comparison to the more southern towns on Kyushu or Shikoku, but there was still a phenomenal amount of rain and the winds were quite strong. What never ceases to amaze me about Japan though is how most people carry on regardless. Despite the whole channel more or less devoted to the following of the typhoon, so that most people know exactly what is happening (with predicted times too!) you still see people walking/riding a bike almost laughing in the face of the typhoon! Crazy.
Nicky Langley, Osaka, Japan

Typhoons are becoming bigger and more aggressive. Unfortunately lots of people die and much damage is done. But let us stand still for a moment and think about it: this is just the beginning of what global warming is going to bring us in the future. Let this be a warning to all of us. We are not doing enough to preserve the climate. Imagine when most Chinese will have a car!
Saijonian, Hiroshima, Japan.

This year has been a very stormy one-probably caused by the extreme heat we had in summer. I work in Tokyo and we all told to go home from work in case trains stopped, and more seriously, in case we were in danger from the destruction caused by the Typhoon. As it happened, the Typhoon had blown itself out by the time it got to Tokyo, and the sky cleared and it stopped raining around 11pm. I just knew that would happen as soon as they said we can go home! Looks like we were the lucky ones.
James Ryland, Japan

We were lucky. It rained heavily all day but the strong winds didn't arrive in Tokyo until after 10pm. We saw some of the Japanese TV coverage of the worst affected areas - looked terrifying.
Emma, Tokyo

The area news was completely wrong. Everyone here thought they would stop the trains and the whole place would be a mess here. However, there was nothing but a little bit of rain, not even as bad as the last one. At the time at which it was suppose to peak, it was quite calm. We are however getting the nice post-typhoon weather now, though. Kawagoe is about 30 minutes SW of Tokyo (by train).
Brent, Kawagoe, Saitama, Japan



VIDEO AND AUDIO NEWS
See pictures of the aftermath of the typhoon



FROM OTHER NEWS SITES:
ABCNEWS.com Death Toll 75 in Japan Typhoon, 15 Still Missing - 24 hrs ago
Reuters UK Death toll from Japan typhoon rising - 24 hrs ago
Miami HeraldRescuers digging for typhoon survivors - 26 hrs ago
Reuters 69 Dead in Japan Typhoon as Hopes Fade for Missing - 29 hrs ago
MSNBC Typhoon death toll in Japan reaches 67 - 30 hrs ago
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SEE ALSO
In pictures: Typhoon Tokage
21 Oct 04 |  In Pictures
Japan battered by Typhoon Meari
30 Sep 04 |  Asia-Pacific
Japan lashed by Typhoon Songda
08 Sep 04 |  Asia-Pacific
Preparing for 'the Big One'
06 Oct 03 |  Asia-Pacific

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