Disasters & Accidents

Thousands evacuated as Mawar brings heavy rains to Japan, disrupts transport

(Update 1: adds details)

Tokyo, June 2 (EFE).- Heavy torrential rains caused by the tropical storm Mawar on Friday hit central and southwestern parts of Japan, interrupting hundreds of flights and some train services, while the authorities have recommended the evacuation of tens of thousands of people.

After wreaking havoc in Southeast Asia, Typhoon Mawar has weakened from its earlier super-typhoon status upon arrival in the Japanese archipelago, but has resulted in extreme weather conditions since Friday.

Mawar is the second typhoon of the season and evolved into a “strong” tropical storm while making landfall in Japan.

Local authorities have called for the evacuation of tens of thousands of people in some of the worst affected areas, including areas in Ibaraki, Miura, Wakayama and Kanagawa prefectures on Japan’s Pacific coast.

At least eight people have sustained injuries – one of them is in a serious condition – because of the storm, government spokesperson, Hirokazu Matsuno, told a press conference Friday, in which he urged the country to remain cautious and heed the evacuation guidance.

Japanese authorities are investigating at least two incidents of people who may have been swept away by rising rivers, one of them while driving, according to state broadcaster NHK.

The Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) has issued multi-level alerts across the entire southwestern half of the country, where heavy rains and gusty winds may trigger flooding, and mudslides.

The southwestern prefecture of Kochi recorded 8 millimeters of rain in one hour while other coastal areas saw more than 300 mm of rain within the first few hours of Friday..

Floods have disrupted local rail services in the southwestern region.

The high-speed Tokaido Shinkansen train services were also interrupted in the western Aichi Prefecture due to heavy rains.

More than 260 flights were either canceled or delayed, affecting thousands of passengers, most of them in the southwestern Okinawa prefecture that was hit by the storm in the early hours of Friday, according to data provided by the main Japanese airlines.

By 6pm on Friday the Tokyo Electric Power company had reported 17 outages.

Mawar will continue to pass through through the Pacific in a northeasterly direction between Friday and Saturday, while skirting the eastern coast of Japan.

The tropical is expected to move away from the archipelago in the early hours of Sunday, according to the JMA. EFE


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