Typhoon Hagibis aftermath: death toll continues to rise

#dailynews60 : The toll of death and destruction from a massive typhoon that tore through central and northern Japan continued to climb Tuesday, as the government said it was considering approving a special budget for the ongoing disaster response and eventual reconstruction.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told a parliamentary session that the number of deaths tied to Typhoon Hagibis had climbed to 53 and was expected to rise, as at least another nine people are presumed dead. Lawmakers prayed in silence for the victims before starting the session.

Abe pledged to do the utmost for the safety and rescue of those missing or those who had to evacuate.

“We put the people’s live first,” he said.

Hagibis hit Japan’s main island on Saturday, unleashing strong winds and dumping historic rainfall that caused more than 200 rivers in central and northern Japan to overflow, leaving thousands of homes flooded, damaged or without power. Rescue crews on Tuesday were still searching for those missing, thought to number about 20.

Some 34,000 homes remained without power and 110,000 others were without running water. More than 30,000 people were still at shelters as of late Monday, according to the Cabinet Office’s latest tally.

Business appeared nearly back to normal in central Tokyo, and residents in areas where floodwater subsided started cleaning their houses. Lives, however, remained paralyzed in Nagano, Fukishima and other hard-hit areas that were still inundated.

West Japan Railway Co. said its Hokuriku Shinkansen bullet train services connecting Tokyo and Kanazawa in the central north were reduced because of flooding of six trains at its railyard in Nagano.

The trains sat in a pool of muddy water that was up to their windows.

Questions have been raised about the site of the railyard, which sits in an area noted on a prefectural hazard map as a flood area.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said the operator’s preparedness should be investigated later but the priority is to get the trains out of the water. Some water has been pumped out, but more than half of the railyard is still underwater.