At least 11 dead as typhoon pounds Japan

At least 11 people have died and three were missing in northern Japan on Wednesday after a powerful typhoon pounded the region, flooding wide areas.

Police discovered the bodies of nine elderly people at a nursing home for people with dementia in Iwaizumi Town, Iwate prefecture, broadcaster NHK reported.

Video footage showed the facility located near a river buried by mud, and surrounded by debris.

Police also found a man dead in the same town after he apparently drowned in a swollen river, while an elderly woman died in Kuji City, NHK reported.

The areas were inundated after Typhoon Lionrock dumped record rainfall across parts of northern Japan.

Three people were also missing on the northern island of Hokkaido after their cars fell into rivers while they were driving, local news agency Kyodo reported.

Many areas of Hokkaido have received rainfall of more than 300 millimetres since Monday, exceeding the entire average rainfall for the month of August, NHK reported, citing the Japan Meteorological Agency.

In Minamifurano Town, precipitation of more than 500 millimetres was recorded, NHK said.

Around 350 people were isolated in Minamifurano after its downtown area was flooded following the collapse of a levee on the Sorachi River, Kyodo reported.

Other rivers breached levees and damaged bridges in Iwate Prefecture and on the island of Hokkaido.

“We will make [a] concerted effort to assess the extent of damage and engage in rescue operations,” Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told a news conference.

The government dispatched troops to the disaster-stricken region to assist with the rescue and cleanup work.

The meteorological agency was still warning of flooding, mudslides and swollen rivers even after the season's 10th typhoon weakened to a tropical depression overnight as it passed over the Sea of Japan.

Typhoon Lionrock tore through north-eastern Japan, the same area that was devastated by the 2011 earthquake and tsunami.

It was the first typhoon to directly hit north-eastern Japan since records began in 1951, the meteorological agency said.

Last update: Wed, 31/08/2016 - 10:07
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