The death toll from Typhoon Hagibis rose to 56 on Monday as search-and-rescue teams continued to operate in flood- and landslide-hit areas of central and eastern Japan.
Another 16 people are missing and at least 100 sustained injuries as the typhoon raked parts of eastern Japan on Saturday and Sunday, according to the latest Kyodo News tally.
Self-Defense Forces (SDF) personnel, police and firefighters carried out operations in various localities.
At a disaster task force meeting, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said the government will do its utmost to support those affected by the typhoon and its aftereffects, adding it will set up an interagency team to improve shelters and help evacuees find places to live.
About 38,000 people across 17 prefectures had evacuated their homes by midday Monday, according to the Fire and Disaster Management Agency, adding that a total of 3,700 homes had been flooded across the country.
“There are concerns that the impact on lives and economic activities may persist,” Abe said. “We will respond as best we can as we continue to think about those who are suffering.”
He instructed Cabinet ministers to ensure infrastructure such as electricity and water systems is quickly restored and to supply food, water and other materials without awaiting requests from local authorities.
The Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare said more than 138,000 households were without water as of 5 p.m. Monday while utility companies said that about 53,000 households were still without power as of 9 p.m.
In a separate meeting, Defense Minister Taro Kono told senior officials to ensure the SDF makes its best efforts in responding to the disaster.
The season’s 19th typhoon dumped record rainfall, which led to rivers bursting their banks, flooding residential districts and triggering landslides in 19 prefectures. Evacuees who could not return home continued to shelter in sites such as local schools.
The Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism said 37 rivers in Nagano, Fukushima, Ibaraki and four other prefectures burst their banks.
In the central city of Nagano, workers used more than 20 pumping vehicles to help assess damage to the drainage system caused when the Chikuma River’s embankment collapsed.
The typhoon also affected transportation systems.
Although flood waters receded from a Hokuriku Shinkansen bullet train yard in the city of Nagano, where 10 bullet trains were affected, East Japan Railway Co. said it will take “substantial time” to resume full-scale operations on the Hokuriku Shinkansen Line connecting Tokyo and Kanazawa, in Ishikawa Prefecture.
Seeing the significant destruction by Hagibis, some international leaders expressed concern and offered support.
Taiwan President Tsai Ing-wen said in her Twitter account on Saturday that she’d like to offer her sincere sympathy to those affected by the typhoon, saying “Japan is the most important friend to us. We are always ready to support you.”
And in New York on Sunday, U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres extended his deep condolences to the families of victims, as well as the government and people of Japan, while wishing the injured a speedy recovery.
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