Powerful typhoon hits southern Japan

A powerful cyclone hit southern Japan on Sunday, with authorities warning the population of record rain and winds that could crush aid poles and overturn cars.

More than five million people are being asked to evacuate their homes in Japan, while cyclone Haishen reached the south of the country on Sunday, September 6. This call from the authorities mainly concerns Kyushu, one of the largest islands in Japan, as the typhoon, placed in the category of “extremely strong”, is expected to reach overnight from Sunday to Monday.

However, the storm weakened somewhat and, contrary to previous forecasts, moved west.

The Japan Meteorological Agency said it was no longer likely to issue a high typhoon warning, but urged residents to exercise “extreme caution” over possible record falls, strong winds, high waves and strong tides.

“Record precipitation levels are expected. They can cause landslides or even floods near major rivers,” said Yoshihisa Nakamoto, head of the weather bureau’s forecasting department, during a televised meeting.

He added that the strong tides could cause flooding in low-lying areas, especially near the mouths of rivers.

On Sunday afternoon, the storm swept over a number of small islands near Kyushu.

Pictures show trees bent under the wind as well as streams.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who organized a meeting to discuss the funds to be used, warned of the risks of floods and landslides.

“Great care is needed because record levels of precipitation, strong winds, strong waves and high tides are possible,” he said.

“I urge the Japanese, including those living in areas at high risk of flooding, to stay informed and take immediate action to ensure their safety.”

The fear of great material damage

At 19:00 local time (10:00 GMT), Haishen was about 100 kilometers southwest of Makurazaki city, with gusts up to 216 km / h, strong enough to overturn vehicles and smash wooden poles. .

According to the Meteorological Agency, the storm is expected to move north-northwest and pass the west coast of Kyushu overnight from Sunday to Monday before reaching South Korea.

Nearly 1.8 million residents of Kyushu have been called to evacuate, particularly in Kagoshima and neighboring Miyazaki, according to the Disaster Management Agency.

Across the country, calls for a lower evacuation have been issued for about 5.6 million inhabitants, according to public TV NHK.

Instead of joining the schools and centers prescribed in these cases, some residents have preferred to take shelter in local hotels to try to reduce the risk of coronavirus infection in cramped shelters.

“I live near the river and wanted a safe place without forgetting the coronavirus,” a Miyazaki resident told NHK after taking refuge with his family in a hotel.

The storm led to the cancellation of almost 550 flights and disrupted rail traffic, according to NHK.

Power outages were reported in parts of Okinawa, as well as in Kagoshima and Miyazaki, where about 79,000 homes were without power even before the storm.

Toyota announced the closure of three factories in Kyushu until Monday night, while other companies, including Canon and Mitsubishi Electric, reportedly took similar measures.

As Cyclone Haishen approached, Japanese authorities on Saturday shut down the search for dozens of missing sailors after a cargo ship sank.

The Coast Guard had rescued a second survivor on Friday among the 43 crew members in Gulf Livestock 1, which carried about 6,000 cows.

But patrol vessels remain at sea to be able to resume searches when the cyclone leaves the region, an official told AFP.

With AFP