Thursday, September 10, 2015

Dramatic rescues as tsunami-like flood hits Japan city

Military helicopters have plucked residents from the top floors of their homes after raging floodwaters poured in and inundated a wide swath of a city north of Tokyo.

As heavy rain pummeled Japan for a second straight day, the Kinugawa River broke through a flood berm on Thursday, sending a tsunami-like wall of water into Joso, about 50km northeast of Japan's capital.

The flooding has forced more than 100,000 people from their homes, at least 17 people were injured. Two people were missing.

A 63-year old woman was missing in a landslide that hit her home while a man in his sevenities in Joso was feared trapped when water engulfed his home, NHK national television said.

Earlier, NHK showed aerial footage of rescuers lowered from helicopters and clambering onto second-floor balconies to reach stranded residents.

In one dramatic rescue by a military helicopter, the rescuer could be seen descending four times over about a 20-minute period to take four people up one-by-one, as a deluge of water swept around the home.

Yuko Yoshida from the Japanese Red Cross told Al Jazeera that the exact number of those in need of emergency rescue was not known because many people had evacuated before the rains came in.

"From our assumptions, the government has managed this situation well. Medical facilities are operating," Yoshida said.

Woman missing

Elsewhere in the region, one woman was missing hours after a landslide hit houses at the foot of a steep, wooded incline. Bullet train services were partially suspended.

Others waved cloths from their veranda as torrents of water around them washed away cars and knocked buildings off their foundations.

Tokyo was also drenched with rain, but the hardest-hit area was to the north in Ibaraki and Tochigi prefectures.

The rain came on the heels of Tropical Storm Etau, which caused similar flooding and landslides Wednesday as it crossed central Japan.

The Fire and Disaster and Management Agency said 15 people were injured by Etau, two seriously. Both  were elderly women knocked over by strong winds.

Al Jazeera's weather forecaster, Everton Fox, said the worst of the rains would clear within the next 12 to 18 hours, adding that by Friday the downpour will have largely stopped.

"The floods are likely to peak for some time because the run off from the higher ground will seep through for a couple of days and then we can expect a gradual improvement in the situation," Fox said.

  Source: Al Jazeera And AP


  1. Japan floods: City of Joso hit by 'unprecedented' rain...

    Widespread flooding and landslides in north-east Japan have forced more than 90,000 people to abandon their homes.

    The city of Joso, north of the capital, Tokyo, was hit by a wall of water after the Kinugawa River burst its banks. Helicopter rescue teams have been plucking people from rooftops.

    At least eight people are still missing and 100 need rescuing.

    The rains come a day after a tropical storm brought winds of up to 125km/h (78mph) to central Aichi prefecture.

    The chief forecaster at the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA), Takuya Deshimaru, said that the rainfall was "unprecedented" for that part of Japan.

    "We can say this is an abnormal situation and there is imminent serious danger," he went on.

    The hardest-hit areas have been Ibaraki and Tochigi prefectures. Japan's Meteorological Agency had put both regions on its highest level of alert.

    Saori Mori, who lives close to the Tone River in the town of Abiko, told the BBC that "the water is right up to the top of the banks now".

    "We have been told to pack and prepare to evacuate as soon as we are told to," Ms Mori said, adding that she and her family were "getting ready for a fast exit".....BBC

  2. Japan floods: Rescue work continues after deadly disaster...

    Rescue work is continuing in Ibaraki and Tochigi prefectures in Japan, where hundreds of people have been stranded by flooding.

    At least two people have been confirmed killed and 25 people are still missing across the regions worst hit.

    Many people had to wait overnight to be rescued from the roofs of their homes near Joso city, after the Kinugawa River burst its banks on Thursday.

    Officials have warned of further heavy rain and the risk of mudslides..........BBC


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