National

Japan may give Typhoon Faxai 'severe' designation to release more state funds for storm-hit areas

JIJI, Kyodo, AFP-JIJI

The government is considering designating Typhoon Faxai as an extremely severe disaster warranting additional state support for affected areas, a senior official said Monday.

“We’ve gathered all information available to consider whether to designate (the typhoon) as an extremely severe disaster,” Minister of State for Disaster Management Ryota Takeda told reporters during his visit to the town of Kyonan in Chiba Prefecture.

Monday marked a week since the 15th typhoon of the year made landfall, near the city of Chiba, as one of the strongest typhoons on record to hit eastern Japan’s Kanto region. Kyonan was among several locations that saw heavy damage.

“We’ll do all we can so that all affected residents can return to their normal lives as soon as possible,” Takeda said.

About 76,500 households were still without power in Chiba Prefecture as of 5 p.m. on Monday, with sustained heavy rain prompting evacuation orders and hampering recovery efforts.

Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc. has said electricity could be restored to all affected areas in the prefecture by Sept. 27, adding that the outage has been prolonged due to worse-than-expected damage from the storm.

At its peak, about 935,000 households in Chiba and six other prefectures were without power, according to the utility.

Heavy rain fell on Monday in the southern part of the Boso Peninsula in Chiba Prefecture, leading to the cities of Tateyama and Minamiboso issuing evacuation advisories to residents.

Tepco and rescue workers warned of the danger of fires caused by short circuits or other issues in areas where power had been restored. In the city of Chiba, a man in his 80s was injured Sunday afternoon while escaping from his two-story wooden home that had caught fire a few hours after he turned the power back on, local firefighters said. The man had returned from a relative’s house where he’d stayed because his home was in an area affected by the power outage.

Some 16,700 households were also without water because several water purification plants had no power, a local official said. Officials were dispatching water tanker trucks to the affected areas with help from the military.

Local authorities issued non-compulsory evacuation orders to 46,300 people on Monday due to the risk of landslides.

“A delay in recovery work is expected due to heavy rain,” said Kenta Hirano, a disaster management official in Futtsu, Chiba Prefecture, where more than 1,000 houses sustained damage due to the typhoon.

Local media showed residents in Chiba Prefecture hurrying to cover damaged roofs with blue tarps.

“We are at a loss as we can’t live there again,” a 66-year-old man told public broadcaster NHK after the typhoon ripped the roof off his house.

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