Death toll reaches 38 after Typhoon Talas hits JapanSeptember 5th, 2011 - 10:27 pm ICT by BNO News
TOKYO (BNO NEWS) — The death toll after powerful Typhoon Talas slammed western Japan during the weekend has increased to at least 38, officials said on Monday evening. Dozens more remain missing in what is now one of the worst typhoons to hit the country in recent years.
Typhoon Talas emerged as an area of low pressure west of Guam on August 22 before strengthening into a typhoon as it accelerated towards Japan. It made landfall over Kochi Prefecture on early Saturday and then tore a path of destruction through western Japan as it moved toward the northeast.
As of Monday evening, officials confirmed at least 38 people had been killed in western Japan as a result of Talas, while more than 50 people are still missing and feared to have been killed. The death toll is the highest from a typhoon in Japan since Typhoon Tokage killed at least 94 people in October 2004.
Police forces, firefighters, and Japanese Self-Defense forces (SDF) continued to carry out search and rescue operations on Monday as blackouts continue to affect tens of thousands. As of 3 p.m. local time on Monday, electricity and phone lines were out in Mie, Nara and Wakayama prefectures, with roughly 194,000 households in the Kansai Electric Power Co.’s service area experiencing blackouts
SDF helicopters have been deployed to the region and are trying to reach residents in the municipalities of Nachikatsuura, Tanabe, Shingu and Hidakagawa, as around 4,700 people have been trapped in the area by landslides and floods.
However, with flooding rivers, damaged roads, and mudslides, officials fear to eventual death toll could be much higher. An unknown number of people have also been injured.
Talas was the 12th named storm, the 7th severe tropical storm and the 5th typhoon of the 2011 Pacific typhoon season. The season runs throughout 2011, with most tropical cyclones forming between May and November.
In July, the City University of Hong Kong predicted a total number of 31 tropical cyclones to form in the western North Pacific, of which 27 would become tropical storms and 17 which would further grow into a typhoon.
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