Typhoon stranded 17,000 at Tokyo airport: operator

A police officer ispects a fallen utility pole downed by winds caused by Typhoon Faxai in Kamakura, Kanagawa prefecture on September 9, 2019. (AFP / JIJI PRESS)
Updated 10 September 2019

Typhoon stranded 17,000 at Tokyo airport: operator

  • Narita Airport was right in the line of fire of Typhoon Faxai, which brought winds of up to 207 kilometers per hour

TOKYO: Around 17,000 passengers were stranded overnight at Tokyo’s Narita Airport, an official said Tuesday, after it took a direct hit from a powerful typhoon that caused transport chaos throughout the capital.
The typhoon caused more than 100 flights to be scrapped and road and rail links to the airport were also badly affected, leaving many with no transport options to the city — 70 kilometers (45 miles) to the west.
Airport spokesman Kei Miyahara told AFP that a total of 16,900 were stuck at the airport at midnight.
“Passengers are now beginning to go home or to their final destinations as buses and trains have resumed operations,” Miyahara said early Tuesday.
Narita Airport, located in Chiba to the east of Tokyo, was right in the line of fire of Typhoon Faxai, which brought winds of up to 207 kilometers (129 miles) per hour.
Suburban trains throughout the huge Tokyo metropolitan area were not reopened until 8 am on Monday as officials checked for debris and damage. This sparked pandemonium during the notoriously busy morning commute.
The chaos came as Japan is preparing to host the Rugby World Cup later this month and with the 2020 Tokyo Olympics just around the corner.
There was “minor” disruption to some teams’ schedules, admitted a Rugby World Cup spokesman, with Australia’s arrival delayed and the England team stuck for hours at the airport.
They passed the time in a particularly English way by playing cricket.
The airport said it delivered 2,000 bottles of water, 19,000 bags of crackers and 18,000 bed rolls to stranded passengers.
“We delivered information in English and Japanese on digital signs, and made announcements in four languages” including Chinese and Korean, said Miyahara.
However, there was mass frustration and passengers complained about a lack of information and long queues for taxis.
The airport operator will review their experiences and draw lessons later, Miyahara said.


Migrant surge overwhelms Greek islands

Updated 13 min 28 sec ago

Migrant surge overwhelms Greek islands

  • The number of people reaching Greeks islands in the eastern Aegean Sea is the highest since the EU reached a €6 billion agreement in 2016 to prevent migrants from leaving the coast of Turkey
  • The surge started before Turkey’s military offensive against Kurdish fighters in Syria, but there are concerns that it could grow much bigger

SKALA, Greece: Greece’s eastern islands are struggling to cope with a surge in arrivals of migrants and asylum-seekers that has undermined efforts to ease severe overcrowding at refugee camps.
The number of people reaching Lesbos, Samos and other Greeks islands in the eastern Aegean Sea is the highest since the European Union reached a 6 billion-euro agreement in 2016 to prevent migrants from leaving the coast of Turkey and heading to the EU.
The surge started before Turkey’s military offensive against Kurdish fighters in Syria, but there are concerns that it could grow much bigger. Since the offensive began last week, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has sought to quell European criticism by warning that he could “open the gates” and send more than 3 million Syrian refugees to Europe.
Dinghies carrying migrants from Syria, Afghanistan, Iraq and elsewhere are reaching the islands despite enhanced coast guard patrolling in recent weeks supported by the Greek military.
This is exacerbating problems at crowded refugee camps. A deadly fire at the Moria refugee camp on Lesbos on Sept. 29 triggered riots at the site, which is at 400% capacity.
The Greek government promised to accelerate transfers to the mainland and expand the network of camps there. But those transfers have so far been outnumbered by new arrivals on the islands.
Human rights group Amnesty International has described Moria as “overcrowded and unsafe” and urged other European Union countries to help Greece settle asylum-seekers.
Authorities fear that if the arrival numbers remain high through October, a winter crisis will be difficult to avoid.
Greece’s new conservative government says it also plans to detain migrants without the right to request asylum and wants to resume deportations back to Turkey under terms detailed in the 2016 EU-Turkey deal.