Typhoon Jebi brings destruction and death to Japan
Tokyo — A typhoon tore across the west of Japan on Tuesday, killing three and injuring scores with violent winds and heavy rainfall.
The strong gusts ripped sheeting from rooftops, overturned trucks on bridges and swept a tanker anchored in Osaka Bay into a bridge to Kansai International Airport.
The damage to the bridge left the airport cut off from the mainland, with 3,000 people stranded inside the facility, public broadcaster NHK reported.
High waves whipped up by the storm flooded parts of the airport, where all flights were cancelled, and the severe weather caused power outages and travel chaos across much of the country.
Typhoon Jebi made landfall around noon, slamming into the west of the country with winds of more than 200km/h.
The fast-moving storm quickly crossed the mainland, and by nightfall was heading out to sea from Ishikawa in central Japan.
Local media reported at least three deaths in the storm, including a 71-year-old man killed in western Shiga prefecture after being trapped under a warehouse that collapsed in strong wind. NHK said 149 people had suffered minor injuries in the storm.
In Osaka, television footage showed the large tanker smashing into the bridge connecting the city of Izumisano with Kansai airport, with the superstructure smashing away part of the bridge.
NHK also showed footage of a 100m-tall ferris wheel in Osaka spinning furiously in the strong wind despite being switched off. "I’ve never seen such a thing," a 19-year-old boy at the scene told the public broadcaster.
Elsewhere, the winds whipped away part of the ceiling from Kyoto station and peeled off multistorey scaffolding on a building in Osaka.
The storm left more than 1-million households without power and evacuation advisories were issued at one point for nearly 1.2-million people, with another 16,000 under stronger — though still not mandatory — evacuation orders.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe had urged people to evacuate early and ordered his government to take all necessary measures to protect residents, after the weather agency warned of landslides, flooding and violent winds, as well as high tides, lightning and tornadoes.
"I urge the Japanese people to take action to protect your lives, including preparing and evacuating early," he said.
Arriving on land, Jebi had winds of up to 162km/h at its centre, making it the strongest typhoon to hit Japan in 25 years, the weather agency’s chief forecaster Ryuta Kurora said.