Typhoon toll hits 54 as rescue efforts continue


Rescue workers continued their struggle Wednesday to reach about 480 people who remained cut off five days after the 12th typhoon of the season wreaked havoc on the Kii Peninsula, with the death toll rising to 54 and restoration of water and power supplies still a priority.

The death toll from Typhoon Talas, the worst storm to ravage the country since 2004, continued to rise, while 55 people remain missing, according to a tally based on announcements by local governments.

Police were also trying to confirm whether another body found in Totsukawa, Nara Prefecture, on Wednesday belongs to any of the missing.

Meanwhile, another tropical cyclone, Typhoon Kulap, was traveling slowly north-northeast Wednesday over the Pacific south of Japan. Packing winds of up to 90 kph, the typhoon’s atmospheric pressure at its center was 1,000 hectopascals, according to the Meteorological Agency.

With around 500 police officers and about 2,000 Ground Self-Defense Force personnel mobilized for search, rescue and relief efforts, the number of people cut off in Nara and Wakayama prefectures was down to 480 as of Wednesday morning, compared with 2,480 the previous afternoon.

Separately, a rescue team was assigned to confirm the whereabouts of 50 residents of the city of Shingu and the town of Nachikatsuura in Wakayama Prefecture, who are not included in the tally for the missing.

In addition to search and rescue operations, the GSDF used 12 helicopters to continue airlifting emergency supplies to areas cut off by roads blocked or broken by landslides. It also mobilized 19 water tankers to districts suffering outages after the typhoon significantly damaged water facilities.