CHIBA – Hundreds of thousands of households near Tokyo were still without power and water Wednesday amid intense heat, after powerful Typhoon Faxai ripped through the metropolitan area earlier in the week.
Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc. said power cuts continued to affect some 430,000 households in Chiba Prefecture as of Wednesday afternoon, and that its goal of fully restoring services before the end of the day was unlikely to be achieved.
Amid the high temperatures, many face water shortages in the wake of the typhoon as well as having no power for air conditioning. At least two elderly people in the prefecture have died — apparently due to heatstroke — and dozens of others have been taken to hospital with suspected heat exhaustion.
Tepco had hoped to reduce the number of households without electricity from 500,000 on Tuesday to 120,000 by Wednesday morning, and to get power to all by the end of Wednesday, but said thunderstorms halted its plans. It plans to mobilize 2,300 workers and dispatch more than 100 power source vehicles.
Power has been returned to all affected areas of Ibaraki and Shizuoka prefectures, according to the utility, but some 4,000 households in Kanagawa were still without electricity.
Some 20,000 households in Chiba Prefecture were said to be without running water amid the sweltering temperatures.
Faxai made landfall near the city of Chiba early Monday, becoming one of the strongest recorded typhoons to hit the Kanto region.
It disrupted major transport networks in the metropolitan area and killed at least three people, while knocking over two transmission towers and a number of utility poles within Chiba Prefecture. Damage to the grid left about 935,000 households without electricity at one point across a wide area including Chiba, Ibaraki, Kanagawa and Shizuoka prefectures, and Tokyo.
In Ichihara, Chiba Prefecture, where over 50,000 households still had no power Wednesday, people formed long lines outside of city hall to get water and have their cell phones charged.
Kikuo Kometani, 83, who was one of those waiting in line, said he came to city hall to get drinking water but has been driving about 20 minutes to a mountain water source to get water to flush the toilet. “My grandchild, who is a university student, has been studying in a car, and that seems really tough,” he said.
Shigemitsu Sakuma, head of the disaster management section at Ichihara City Hall, said citizens are experiencing stress due to the prolonged power outage. “It would be helpful if we could at least get information on which area of the city will see its power restored first,” Sakuma said.
The mercury soared across the country after the typhoon passed. Kamogawa, in Chiba Prefecture, recorded 35.5 C — its highest temperature of the year — on Tuesday, and was expected to top 30 C in the prefecture on Wednesday.
“My child was sweating so much that he had nothing left to urinate,” said a 21-year-old woman who was taking shelter at a special evacuation center set up in Kimitsu with her 10-month-old son.
More than 200 homes were battered by the typhoon in the prefecture and farmland was also damaged, with rice fields and fruit farms ravaged just before harvest time.