The death toll from Japan's deadliest typhoon in more than a decade rose to 69 yesterday as rescue workers digging through sludge from mudslides found six more bodies and the nation tried to assess the extent of damage. Nineteen people were still missing.
Typhoon Tokage, the record eighth typhoon to hit Japan this year, ripped through the country earlier this week with high waves and rapid mudslides, demolishing homes and flooding dozens of communities in western Japan before losing power and disappearing over the Pacific Ocean.
Rescue workers yesterday combed the sea and flooded towns for the missing feared washed away in the typhoon.
The death toll rose to 69 as rescuers found four more bodies overnight and two additional ones on Friday, the National Police Agency said. Nineteen people remain unaccounted for. Injuries totaled 292.
In Osaka, western Japan, a 59-year-old woman was killed after falling into a swollen creak.
In northern Kyoto, a 30-year-old policeman, who went missing after going outside in the storm to check typhoon damage in the neighborhood, was also found dead.
In Kyoto, western Japan, a rescue crew recovered the body of a 71-year-old man who was reported missing in a mudslide Thursday.
In the nearby prefecture of Hyogo, the body of a 34-year-old man was dug out from mudslide that had crushed his home, and a 66-year-old man was found dead underneath his collapsed house. At another site in the prefecture, or state, rescue crews recovered the body of a 37-year-old man on a street as floods subsided in the area.
Nationwide, more than 23,210 homes were flooded and hundreds of others ripped apart or buried, according to the Fire and Disaster Management Agency. Thousands of people across the country were staying at temporary shelters, officials said. Workers found Friday that the storm had also left hundreds of pine trees lining the scenic coast of northern Kyoto, Kyodo News reported.
"We extend condolences to the victims of the typhoon, while praying for the safety of those still missing," Chief Cabinet Secretary Hiroyuki Hosoda said Friday.
He said the government had set up a task force to support the rescue and cleanup operation, and disaster and land ministers will visit Kyoto and Hyogo, among the hardest-hit areas, later Friday to observe the damage.
Tokage was the deadliest storm in Japan since September 1988, when 84 people died in a nearly continuous two-week spell of typhoons, said Fire and Disaster Management Agency spokesman Yoshikazu Nishiwaki.
Japan was still recovering from Typhoon Ma-on, which killed six people earlier this month, when Tokage hit. The country suffered 22 deaths from Typhoon Meari in late September.
This year's typhoons have far outstripped the previous post-World War II record of six, set in 1990. The storms have left nearly 220 people dead or missing, the largest casualty tally since 1983.
Monetary damage from the storms and other natural disasters this year reached an estimated US$6.72 billion in mid-October, Finance Minister Sadakazu Tanigaki said Thursday.