Powerful typhoon lashes Japan, thousands evacuate

Muddy water of the Katsura river runs under a bridge in Kyoto as torrential rain hit western Japan. Photo / AFP
Muddy water of the Katsura river runs under a bridge in Kyoto as torrential rain hit western Japan. Photo / AFP

A powerful typhoon was bearing down on Japan and headed toward Tokyo today, dumping torrential rains, damaging homes and flooding parts of the country's popular tourist destination of Kyoto, where 260,000 people were ordered to evacuate to shelters.

Dozens were injured and public broadcaster NHK said four people were missing.

Typhoon Man-yi, one of the worst storms to lash Japan this season, was packing wind speeds of 162 kilometres per hour at midday and headed toward Japan's capital region.

The government has set up an emergency task force to assess damage and support rescue effort, said Prime Minister's Office official Hikariko Ono. Kyoto and neighbouring Shiga prefecture have asked the Defence Ministry to mobilise relief teams.

NHK said at least four people were missing and 48 people were injured in 16 western and central prefectures since Sunday, citing its own tally.

Among them were two women in their 70s when a mudslide hit their respective houses in Shiga and Fukui in western Japan. A man fell into a swollen river when he went to check fish traps in Fukushima prefecture.

More than 700 homes were flooded across the western and central Japan, NHK said.

As the typhoon travelled eastward, trains in Tokyo and its vicinity were largely suspended and hundreds of flights were grounded.

The storm dumped an "unprecedented amount of rainfall" in Kyoto and two of its neighbouring prefectures it passed overnight, dumping as much as 8 centimetres per hour, the Meteorological Agency said. The agency lifted a "special warning" for the area was earlier Monday but urged residents to stay alert.

In Kyoto, where the city's major Katsura River flooded, some 260,000 people were told to evacuate. NHK showed tourists in Kyoto being taken to safety on boats on a flooded riverside street, towed by rescue workers.

Hundreds of thousands of others were also ordered to evacuate in western Japan. About 80,000 houses were without electricity in western and central Japan.

- AP

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