Disaster-hit Japan braces for powerful typhoon

By: AFP July 28,2018 - 08:40 PM

A powerful typhoon hurtled towards Japan on Saturday, prompting local authorities to issue early evacuation orders, with western areas recently devastated by floods and landslides in the storm’s crosshairs.

Typhoon Jongdari, packing winds of up to 180 kilometers an hour, is forecast to make landfall on the country’s main island on Saturday night or early Sunday, according to Japan’s Meteorological Agency.

TV footage showed high waves smashing onto rocks and seawalls on the coastline in Shimoda, southwest of Tokyo, and trees buffeted by strong winds and heavy rain.

The storm, currently some 250 kilometres south of Tokyo, is expected to barrel towards the western Chugoku region Sunday, where record rainfall earlier this month unleashed flooding and landslides, killing around 220 people and leaving more than 4,000 survivors still living in temporary shelters.

The weather agency warned of heavy rain, landslides, strong winds and high waves, and urged people to consider early evacuation.

“We want people especially in the downpour-hit regions to pay close attention to evacuation advisories,” meteorological agency official Minako Sakurai told reporters.

The western city of Shobara in Hiroshima prefecture issued an evacuation order to some 36,400 residents as a precautionary measure, officials said.

“Although it has not rained here, we are urging people to evacuate before it gets dark,” Masaharu Kataoka, a city official, told AFP.

TV footage showed workers and residents hurriedly piling up sand bags to build temporary barriers against potential floods.

“It’s going to deal a double punch,” a resident in Okayama told public broadcaster NHK, referring to the recent killer downpours and the incoming typhoon.
“We are seriously worried,” he said.

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