440,000 advised to evacuate as ‘Vongfong’ slams Japan

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TOKYO: Powerful typhoon Vongfong barreled into Japan on Monday morning, with at least one person missing and dozens injured while more than 300 flights were grounded, officials and local media said.

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Local authorities issued evacuation advisories to more than 440,000 residents mainly in southwestern Japan.

Winds of up to 180 kilometers (112 miles) per hour whipped ashore as the typhoon made landfall in Makurazaki on Kyushu island at around 8:30 a.m. (11:30 p.m. Manila time), the meteorological agency said.

The typhoon is forecast to churn northeast through the Japanese archipelago at a speed of 30 kph, the agency said, adding that it may reach the Kanto region—which includes Tokyo—late on Monday or early Tuesday.

Television footage showed the roof and walls of a house ripped off by gusts in Makurazaki, while huge waves were smashing into breakwaters.

“We are calling on our residents to remain on alert as we are still within the storm zone,” said Naoki Jomori, an official of Makurazaki’s anti-disaster office.

NHK said at least 45 people had been injured in typhoon-related accidents so far, a figure which included the 23 injured as the monster storm pounded the southern Okinawa islands over the weekend.

In Shizuoka, central Japan, three Chinese people were swept away by high waves triggered by the typhoon on Sunday afternoon as they were fishing on the coast, a local police spokesman said.

“Two of them were rescued safely but the remaining one aged 26 is still missing,” the police spokesman said.

The weather agency warned that landslides, floods, high waves and heavy rains could hit a large swathe of the archipelago, where a relatively wet summer brought numerous landslides, including in Hiroshima where more than 70 people died.

The typhoon also paralyzed traffic, stranding thousands of people traveling around the country at the end of a three-day national holiday celebrating health and sports.

Japanese airlines cancelled at least 372 flights, while West Japan Railway said it planned to suspend all local services in the Kansai region, western Japan, later in the day.

AFP

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