TOKYO — A deadly typhoon has left at least 100 people dead or missing after ravaging western Japan, officials said, heaping yet more misery onto a nation trying to recover from the March tsunami.
Talas brought torrential rain and strong winds when it made landfall Saturday, swelling rivers and triggering landslides that swept away buildings in the southwestern island of Shikoku, Kii peninsula and the Chugoku region.
At least 50 people have been confirmed dead in nine prefectures.
With more than 50 people still missing, the storm looks likely to be Japan's deadliest since October 1979, when a powerful typhoon claimed 115 lives, the Japan Meteorological Agency said.
In hard-hit Wakayama alone, 35 were killed and 33 remain unaccounted for, officials said.
Talas, which moved away from Japan on Sunday, has since been downgraded to a tropical storm but the remnants of its weather system, together with the offshore northbound Typhoon Noru, continued to inflict heavy rains on northern Japan.
Heavy rains brought more misery across a nation trying to recover from the March 11 earthquake and tsunami, with a 56-year-old man having drowned in Saitama prefecture, northwest of Tokyo, officials said on Wednesday.
In Nara, local police and rescuers found one body buried in mud on Wednesday morning, which raised the death toll to five in a prefecture where many more are missing, a local police officer said.
Massive landslides since the weekend had cut off access routes to thousands living in mountainous communities, but local officials said rescuers have managed to provide supplies to many places.
In Wakayama prefecture, the number of stranded had been reduced from around 4,500 to 225, largely due to the restoration of access roads, a local government official said.
New Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda, who was sworn in last week, plans to visit the affected areas on Friday to inspect the typhoon damage.
Noda will also visit Fukushima on Thursday, home to a nuclear plant crippled by the March 11 disaster at the centre of the world's worst nuclear crisis since Chernobyl 25 years ago.Copyright © 2011 AFP. All rights reserved. More »