Japan Copes With Aftermath of Jebi, Strongest Typhoon in 25 Years

The storm, Typhoon Jebi, brought widespread flooding and winds of up to 130 miles an hour.
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TOKYO — Japanese rescue workers on Wednesday began evacuating thousands of people who had been trapped at a major airport, a day after a powerful storm battered the country, leaving 11 people dead and 600 injured.


The storm, Typhoon Jebi, brought widespread flooding and winds of up to 130 miles an hour. It prompted government evacuation orders for about 49,000 people, with many more advised to flee, the Fire and Disaster Management Agency said.


Boats floating along with debris in Nishinomiya, Hyogo Prefecture.CreditReuters


The storm traversed Japan’s main island of Honshu before traveling up its western coast, leaving a trail of death. Among the fatalities was the owner of a warehouse that collapsed on him, news reports said.

Pedestrians in Tokyo. Wind speeds reached 130 miles per hour in some places.

Early in the afternoon on Tuesday, an oil tanker unmoored by the storm crashed into the only bridge that connects Kansai International Airport in Osaka Bay to the mainland. The Coast Guard later rescued the crew members using a helicopter and patrol boats, the public broadcaster NHK said.

Early on Wednesday morning, three speedboats began rescuing some of the 3,000 people who had been stranded at the airport, which sits on a man-made island, NHK reported. Others were being transported by bus across the northern part of the damaged airport bridge to Izumisano, a city in Osaka Prefecture.

Footage on NHK’s noon broadcast on Wednesday showed long lines of stranded people waiting for buses at the airport. Officials said Thursday that the airport, Japan’s third largest, may remain closed for a week.

The storm was downgraded to a low-pressure system on Wednesday as it moved away from the Japanese archipelago, the Japan Meteorological Agency said. Bullet trains in the area resumed full service after being suspended a day earlier.

But Kansai International Airport was still closed, with nearly 1,000 flights canceled since Tuesday, and local trains were canceled or delayed across a wide swath of eastern and northern Japan.

Much of the airport’s runways remained under water early Wednesday, though the main terminal buildings were safe, said Takayuki Nomori, an officer with the Kansai Airport police.
 An oil tanker crashed into the only bridge connecting Kansai International Airport in Osaka Bay to the mainland.



An oil tanker crashed into the only bridge connecting Kansai International Airport in Osaka Bay to the mainland.CreditKentaro Ikushima/Mainichi Newspaper, via Associated Press
In Kyoto, damage to the roof of the main rail station brought debris crashing down onto passengers below, injuring three people and closing parts of the station. News footage showed shipping containers strewn across Kobe Port, a cargo hub.

About 2.2 million homes were without power late Tuesday, according to a central government tally. By Wednesday morning, NHK reported, 570,000 homes were without power in Osaka Prefecture and five neighboring prefectures, as well as 37,000 other homes in Hokkaido Prefecture.

The Kyodo news agency also reported that about 160 elementary school children on a school trip in Kyoto had been stranded since Monday because the roads leading to the facility where they were staying were blocked by downed trees. Two children who had fallen ill there were taken to a hospital by helicopter on Wednesday, Kyodo reported.

The typhoon hit during a summer of meteorological misery for Japan, with floods and landslides killing over 200 people in western Japan in July, the same month that heat waves claimed about 130 lives.


Evacuation orders in Japan are not mandatory, but the failure to heed such orders during the July rains was seen as a contributing factor to the high number of deaths.
Containers jumbled together near a port in Osaka.

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