National

Power returns to parts of typhoon-hit Chiba Prefecture, but 300,000 still in the dark

Kyodo

Power was restored for tens of thousands of households in Chiba Prefecture on Thursday as recovery efforts continued after Typhoon Faxai ravaged Kanto, but full recovery for about 300,000 households will have to wait until Friday or later, a utility firm said.

Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc. had aimed to resolve the power outage by Wednesday, but said the recovery operation was delayed as power poles and power lines suffered worse damage than initially expected.

“Our estimation of the damage was too optimistic,” Tepco said.

Chiba Gov. Kensaku Morita urged the utility to make more efforts to restore power and disclose accurate information more quickly.

“Releasing optimistic estimations doesn’t help the victims,” said Chiba Mayor Toshihito Kumagai, criticizing Tepco for largely pushing back the estimated time for full recovery.

Tepco said power was due to be restored in the city of Chiba and three other cities within the prefecture on Thursday, but about 300,000 households will have to wait until at least Friday.

Some 20,000 households continued to have no running water within the prefecture as maximum temperatures eclipsed 30 C in the days after the typhoon passed. Lower temperatures provided a measure of relief on Thursday, dropping into the mid to high 20s.

Residents of areas without water had to form long lines at city hall again to receive water while cars crowded functioning gas stations, as many other stations have been unable to resume operations due to the blackout.

Michiko Okuma, a 72-year-old woman in the city of Ichihara, received 24 500-ml bottles for her family.

“We are not sure when the water will start running again, so I hope these will last us for four to five days,” she said.

In Kimitsu, about 25 vehicles were waiting to refill their gas tanks. Tadahiro Naoi, a 45-year-old gas station worker, said the waiting time has actually become shorter since other nearby stations resumed operations.

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 in Chiba Prefecture.

About 935,000 households were left without electricity at one point in wide areas including the prefectures of Chiba, Ibaraki, Kanagawa, Shizuoka, and Tokyo.

Some schools in areas affected by the power outage remain closed and East Japan Railway Co. services on the Uchibo and Sotobo lines were canceled through Thursday.