Dozen hurt as strong typhoon bears down on Okinawa


A powerful typhoon poured heavy rains over the island of Okinawa and was taking aim at Kyushu on Sunday, becoming the second severe storm to hit in a week.

At least 35 people have been reported injured in Okinawa and Kyushu, where authorities told 150,000 people to evacuate, as the typhoon toppled trees, flooded streets and cut power to more than 60,000 homes.

Typhoon Vongfong, packing winds of up to 180 kph (110 mph), has been downgraded from a supertyphoon and was on course to reach Kyushu by Monday. The Meteorological Agency said it could reach the Tokyo area Tuesday, gradually losing strength as it moves up the archipelago.

Authorities issued landslide warnings and strong winds knocked out power lines, temporarily halting bullet train service for several hours on Kyushu.

In Okinawa, the storm had cut power to over 17,000 households and injured at least 23 people Sunday, including a man in his 20s who lost a finger to a door slammed shut by strong winds, a municipal official said.

NHK said many more were injured, including a 9-year-old girl who also had a finger caught in a door.

“These are two separate cases, but in both cases they lost one of their fingers as the door closed violently due to the strong winds,” a local official said.

Satellite images of Vongfong showed a perfectly formed eye in the midst of a large swirling disc of cloud. It comes just a week after another storm whipped through the country, leaving 11 people dead or missing.

Last week’s typhoon killed three U.S. airmen who were washed out at sea in Okinawa, home to about half of the roughly 50,000 American troops stationed in Japan.

The U.S. military instructed service personnel and their families to remain indoors Sunday until strong winds and rain subsided and said crews were out to assess damage, including broken glass and toppled power lines.

In late August, rain in Hiroshima triggered landslides that killed more than 70 people.

  • B.L.Sharma

    Just as Vongfong has hit Japanese cities of Okinawa and Kyushu , today cyclonic storm Hud Hud has struck the eastern coast of India’s Visakhapatnam with heavy rains and wind blowing at 180 kmh initially killing two persons. The cyclonic storm is likely to continue for another six hours after that a clear picture of loss and destruction of life is finally likely to emerge.