Japan warns of more rain, mudslide risk in typhoon-hit areas

Typhoon Hagibis dropped record amounts of rain for a period in some spots, according to meteorological officials, causing more than 20 rivers to overflow. (File/AP)
Updated 22 October 2019

Japan warns of more rain, mudslide risk in typhoon-hit areas

  • Typhoon Hagibis earlier this month hit northern and central Japan
  • The agricultural damage was estimated to be as high as $700 million

TOKYO: The Japanese weather agency warned people in Tokyo and northern Nagano that heavy rainfall Tuesday may set off flooding and mudslides, including in areas recovering from a deadly typhoon.
The Japan Meteorological Agency said heavy rain was expected throughout the day, with waves and thunderstorms possible in Tokyo and the potential for flooding and mudslides in parts of Nagano Prefecture, northwest of Tokyo, including Nagano city.
Authorities also cautioned that landslides and flooding were possible even in areas where official warnings hadn’t been issued.
Typhoon Hagibis earlier this month hit northern and central Japan. Nagano, Fukushima and Miyagi were especially hard hit. The government’s disaster management office said as of Monday 70 deaths were attributed to the typhoon and 12 people were missing.
The heavy rains from the typhoon caused rivers to overflow or damage dams in dozens of places.
Farm crops were also seriously damaged, including apples, cabbage and cucumbers. The agricultural damage was estimated to be as high as 70 billion yen ($700 million).
Miyagi prefecture, where as much as 10 centimeters (3.9 inches) of rain was forecast, cautioned residents that typhoon-damaged areas could be vulnerable to rainfall amounts that normally would not be hazardous, prefecture officials said.


Anti-government protesters block roads in Pakistan as unrest mounts

Updated 14 November 2019

Anti-government protesters block roads in Pakistan as unrest mounts

  • Tens of thousands of demonstrators joined a sit-in in Islamabad on Oct. 31 and camped there for about two weeks
  • Firebrand cleric leading the protests called for nationwide demonstrations

ISLAMABAD: Anti-government protesters in Pakistan blocked major roads and highways across the country on Thursday in a bid to force Prime Minister Imran Khan to resign.
The demonstrators — led by the leader of opposition party Jamiat-e-Ulema-e-Islam (JUI-F), the firebrand cleric Maulana Fazlur Rehman — have taken to the streets as the start of their “Plan B” to topple the government and ensure a general election after failing to push Khan out through a fortnight-long sit-in in Islamabad, which ended on Wednesday.
That same day, Rehman told his party workers to spread their protests to other parts of the country.
“This protest will continue not for a day but for a month, if our leadership instructs,” said JUI-F Secretary-General, Maulana Nasir Mehmood, to a group of protesters who blocked the country’s main Karakoram Highway — an important trade route between Pakistan and China that also connects the country’s Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) province with its northern areas.
The JUI-F protesters also blocked other key routes in KP and a major highway connecting the provinces of Sindh and Balochistan. The party’s Balochistan chapter also announced its intention to block the highway connecting Pakistan to neighboring Iran.
Tens of thousands of demonstrators joined the sit-in in Islamabad on Oct. 31 and camped there for about two weeks, demanding the prime minister’s resignation and fresh polls in the country following allegations of electoral fraud last year and the mismanagement of Pakistan’s economy. The government denies both charges.
Rehman is a veteran politician who was a member of the National Assembly for 20 years. He enjoys support in religious circles across the country. His party has yet to share a detailed plan regarding which roads will be closed when, or how long this new phase of protests will continue.
The JUI-F and other opposition parties have been trying to capitalize on the anger and frustration of the public against the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf ruling party, which came to power last year promising 10 million new jobs for the youth, 5 million low-cost houses, and economic reforms to benefit the middle class.
Since then, Pakistan’s economy has nosedived, witnessing double-digit inflation and rampant unemployment. The government signed a $6-billion bailout deal with the International Monetary Fund to stave off a balance-of-payments crisis.
“Prime Minister Imran Khan has stabilized the deteriorating economy, and Maulana Fazlur Rehman ‘Plan B’ will fail like his ‘Plan A,’” Firdous Ashiq Awan, special assistant to the prime minister on information and broadcasting, said in a statement to the press.

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