Typhoon Chata'an leaves eight dead or missing in Japan

from Agence France-Presse
Published on 11 Jul 2002
by Miwa Suzuki

TOKYO, July 11 (AFP) - Four people were killed, four were missing and 15 others were injured in Japan as Typhoon Chata'an whirled north along the Pacific coast, police said Thursday.

The death toll in Japan -- two schoolboys and two elderly people -- came on top of at least 70 dead in Micronesia and the Philippines which were battered by Chata'an, meaning "rainy" in Guam's Chamorro language, earlier this week.

A seven-year-old boy who was playing on a scooter on an embankment in Aso, Ibaraki prefecture, northeast of Tokyo, drowned Wednesday after apparently falling into the Kasumigaura estuary. His body was recovered Thursday.

Two elderly people, 78-year-old man and a 72-year-old woman, living alone were killed after a mudslide hit their respective houses early Thursday in Kamaishi, 450 kilometres (280 miles) north of Tokyo.

In Gonohe Town, also northern Japan, a 63-year-old man went missing Thursday after he slipped into a swollen river while trying to pull out garbage accumulated in front of a sluice gate.

National police also said a 74-year-old man was missing in Gunma prefecture -- after he left his home Wednesday and did not return.

A 13-year-old student drowned Wednesday after falling into a river in Oita on the southern island of Kyushu. A middle-aged angler also went missing in Gifu prefecture, some 250 kilometres (160 miles) west of Tokyo.

Another was missing in the northern Japan prefecture of Akita. Water levels on seven rivers rose to alarming levels, forcing about 17,000 to evacuate.

The force of Chata'an was diminishing but it was still packing winds of up to 80 kilometres (50 miles) per hour and moving northeast at 40 kilometres (25 miles) per hour as of 8:00 pm (1100 GMT), the Meteorological Agency said.

The eye of the typhoon moved along the Pacific coast of Japan's main island of Honshu and then swerved inland near Kushiro on the northernmost island of Hokkaido at around 9:00 pm (1200 GMT), the agency said.

It was whipping up huge waves and dumping torrential rain. It was expected to clear the Japanese archipelago by early Friday.

National police said a total of 15 people had been injured as of 5:00 pm Thursday but no more casualty figures would be released until Friday as the typhoon's intensity had diminished.

"We have yet to hear of any serious damage caused in Hokkaido," the northernmost Japanese island, a National Police Agency spokesman said.

The storm triggered at least 347 landslides across Japan, and caused widespread flooding, with 1902 houses inundated. Roads were damaged at 125 locations and seven bridges were partially or totally washed away.

mis-sps/cas AFP 111220 GMT 07 02

Copyright (c) 2002 Agence France-Presse
Received by NewsEdge Insight: 07/11/2002 12:44:29

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