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Last Updated: Friday, 22 October, 2004, 11:13 GMT 12:13 UK
Japan counts cost after typhoon
A woman washes her hands next to a collapsed house destroyed by typhoon Tokage in Izushi town, Hyogo Prefect
Thousands of houses have been flooded by Typhoon Tokage
The Japanese authorities are assessing the damage after the worst typhoon in more than a decade ripped through the country earlier this week.

The death toll now stands at 75, and hopes are fading for the survival of at least 15 others still reported missing.

Rescuers are continuing to search areas hit by floods, mudslides and heavy rains triggered by the typhoon.

Typhoon Tokage reached speeds of 229 km/h (142 mph) as it battered Japan's south-west coast on Wednesday.

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

Tokage - the Japanese word for lizard - is the record 10th typhoon to hit Japan this year.

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

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

"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.

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.

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

Across the country more than 23,000 homes were flooded and hundreds of others destroyed, according to the Fire and Disaster Management Agency.

Thousands of people have been evacuated from their homes and are staying at temporary shelters, officials said.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Hiroyuki Hosoda said the government had set up a task force to help the rescue and clean-up operation.

"We extend condolences to the victims of the typhoon, while praying for the safety of those still missing," he told the Associated Press news agency.

Japan has suffered damages totalling 1 trillion yen ( US$9.3bn ) from this year's storm season, which has been unusually hard-hitting.

Normally, about three typhoons make landfall in Japan every year.




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



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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