SENDAI – A month after Typhoon Hagibis roared through central and eastern Japan, friends, family members and neighbors mourned the victims of the powerful storm, which claimed at least 90 lives and flooded tens of thousands of homes.
The typhoon made landfall on Honshu on Oct. 12, bringing record-breaking rainfall in wide areas and causing embankments to collapse. The deaths occurred in 13 prefectures, and five people remain missing, according to a Kyodo News tally.
At noon, residents of Marumori, Miyagi Prefecture, as well as Saku, Nagano Prefecture, offered silent prayers. The town of Marumori lost 10 residents and another remains unaccounted for due to the typhoon, while two died in Saku.
“At first, I thought I can’t handle this, but I managed to survive a month with the help of my relatives and friends,” said a 67-year-old woman whose home was destroyed, adding, “I can only do what I can do, one step at a time.”
“I am exhausted as I have been cleaning up every day and returning to the evacuation center at night,” said 66-year-old carpenter Tadao Hoshi, while removing the floors of his flooded home.
A total of 3,185 Marumori residents are estimated to be living in damaged homes, accounting for some 20 percent of the town’s population.
Starting in the morning, many people inquired at the town office about temporary housing and what help they can receive for damage to their farms. Mayor Kunio Hoshina said the town will start building temporary housing on Wednesday.
Roughly 2,700 people remain evacuated from their homes in the country, including those affected by heavy rain that followed the typhoon, sharply down from the peak of about 237,000 as of Oct. 13, according to the Fire and Disaster Management Agency.
The typhoon caused embankments to collapse in 140 locations along 71 rivers, and massive damage was caused by the flooding of Chikuma River in Nagano Prefecture and Abukuma River in Fukushima and Miyagi prefectures.
Of those who died, people age 65 or older accounted for nearly 60 percent. Three children under 10 were also killed in the disaster.
Among the 62 victims whose places of death were confirmed, 33 were killed inside their own homes and the rest were outdoors.
A total of 87,896 houses were damaged or destroyed by the typhoon. A total of 11,685 were destroyed, 11,906 damaged and the remaining 64,305 suffered less severe floodwater damage under government criteria.
Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism Minister Kazuyoshi Akaba said his ministry and the Meteorological Agency will review how to provide information on rivers, as a regional land bureau failed to issue flood information and the ministry’s website on water levels became temporarily inaccessible due to a spike in visitors at the time.