TOKYO: Torrential rain that caused flooding and mudslides in towns east of Tokyo left at least nine people dead and added fresh damage in areas still recovering from recent typhoons, officials said Saturday.
Rescue workers were looking for one person still missing in Chiba. Another person was unaccounted for in Fukushima, farther north, which is still reeling from damage wrecked by Typhoon Hagibis earlier this month.
The death toll included eight people in Chiba and one in Fukushima. While rains and floodwater subsided, parts of Chiba were still inundated. About 4,700 homes were out of running water and some train services delayed or suspended.
In the Midori district in Chiba, mudslides crushed three houses, killing three people who were buried underneath them. Another mudslide hit a house in nearby Ichihara city, killing a woman. In Narata and Chonan towns, three drivers drowned when their vehicles were submerged.
“There was enormous noise and impact, ‘boom’ like an earthquake, so I went outside. Then look what happened. I was terrified,” said a resident who lived near the crushed home in Midori. “Rain was even more intense than the typhoons.”
In Fukushima, a woman was found dead in a park in Soma city after a report that a car was washed away. A passenger is still missing.
Rain also washed out Friday’s second round of the PGA Tour’s first tournament held in Japan, the Zozo Championship in Inzai city.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe held an emergency task force meeting Saturday morning and called for “the utmost effort in rescue and relief operations.”
He also urged quicks repairs of electricity, water and other essential services to help restore the lives of the disaster-hit residents.
The Prime Minister’s Office said the average rainfall for the entire month had fallen in just half a day Friday.
The downpour came from a low-pressure system above Japan’s main island of Honshu that moved northward later Friday. Power was restored Saturday at most of the 6,000 Chiba households that had lost electricity.
Two weeks ago, Typhoon Hagibis caused widespread flooding and left more than 80 people dead or presumed dead across Japan.
Yoshiki Takeuchi, an office worker who lives in a riverside house in Chiba’s Sodegaura city, said he had just finished temporary repairs to his roof after tiles were blown off by the September typhoon when Friday’s rains hit hard.
“I wasn’t ready for another disaster like this. I’ve had enough of this, and I need a break,” he told Kyodo News.