Asia

Typhoon Vongfong injures dozens in Japan

  • 13 October 2014
  • From the section Asia
Media captionVongfong lost much of its destructive power but still contains a lot of energy

Typhoon Vongfong, the strongest storm to hit Japan this year, has made landfall on the country's main islands, after injuring at least 30 in Okinawa.

More than 300 flights were cancelled, while hundreds of thousands had to evacuate their homes.

The storm made landfall on Kyushu island on Monday morning. Kyushu's bullet train services were suspended on Sunday due to the wind.

Meteorologists say Vongfong could pass over the capital, Tokyo, on Tuesday.

Vongfong, which means wasp in Cantonese, currently has winds of up to 120km/h (75 mph), with gusts of 175km/h, the Japan Meteorological Agency says.

"The centre of the typhoon landed on Makurazaki, Kyushu island, at around 08:30 (23:30 GMT)," an official of the agency told the AFP news agency.

Over the weekend, the typhoon knocked out the power supply in Okinawa and toppled trees and signposts.

The BBC's Rupert Wingfield-Hayes in Tokyo says that although Vongfong has weakened considerably, it is still a huge storm system and is carrying an enormous amount of moisture.

He says that when Vongfong hits the mountains of Kyushu it will drop hundreds of millimetres of rain that could unleash flash flooding and landslides.

Image copyright Reuters
Image caption The coastline of Japan's Shikoku island was pounded on Sunday as the typhoon neared
Image copyright AP
Image caption People try to repair a roof damaged by the winds as the typhoon approaches Kyushu island

Vongfong had been categorised a super-typhoon as it picked up strength through several South Pacific islands, including Guam.

Last week parts of Japan were hit by Typhoon Phanfone, though that storm had rapidly lost power by the time it hit Tokyo.

Japan's Kyodo news agency said nine people are now known to have been killed by Phanfone, including three US military servicemen in Okinawa who were washed out to sea. Their bodies have since been recovered.

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