At least 42 people are dead,15 are missing, and 198 were injured in and around Tokyo after Typhoon Hagibis, which means “speed” in Tagalog, brought record rains to many parts of Japan’s main island of Honshu on Saturday.
BBC calls it the worst storm Japan had seen in decades, with 110,000 rescuers involved in recovery efforts. The Canadian Press adds that the storm “hit with unusual speed and ferocity, leaving homes buried in mud and people stranded on rooftops. But nothing spoke more of the powerlessness of modernization against natural disasters than rows of bullet trains deluged in floodwaters in Nagano, a mountainous region to the northwest of Tokyo.”
CP adds that “Japan’s technological prowess and meticulous attention to detail are sometimes no match for rising risks in a precarious era of climate change.”
By Sunday, much of the affected region was returning to normal. But “more than 20 rivers in central and northeastern Japan had burst their banks, flooding more than 1,000 homes in cities, towns, and villages,” the Washington Post reports, and 800 flights from Tokyo’s two main airports were cancelled. Japanese media reported about 200,000 homes without power, and the storm sank a cargo ship anchored near Tokyo, leaving at least five crew members dead and three missing.
“At one point, the government advised nearly eight million people to evacuate. Many ignored the advice and stayed home, but others headed to shelters,” the Post states, with some people dying along the way. “Winds near the centre of the typhoon reached 90 miles (145 kilometres) per hour shortly after it made landfall on the Izu Peninsula not far from Tokyo on Saturday evening, with gusts over 120 mph (193 kph). But rather than the wind, it was the rains drenching Honshu all day that caused the most concern.”
BBC reports wind speeds up to 140 miles/225 kilometres per hour. In Nagano, a “group of rescuers wearing snorkels and goggles began searching for survivors in waist-high water,” the broadcaster states.