Japan’s strongest storm in six decades has left more than 30 people dead and nearly 20 missing after battering the country’s main island on Sunday, according to local reports.
Tens of thousands of troops and rescue workers have been sent to save stranded residents and fight floods caused by Typhoon Hagibis, which has brought record levels of rain and left some 425,000 homes without power.
Kyodo News had a recorded death total of at least 33 people on Sunday, with 19 people still missing, based on information provided by rescuers and other authorities.
The Yomiuri newspaper has reported at least five of the crew’s 12 members have died and four people have been rescued.
About 360 people were left stranded after an embankment of the Chikuma River in Nagano collapsed.
Rescue efforts have been complicated as ten rivers in central and northeastern Japan burst their banks and dozens of others overflowed, the Japanese government said.
Evacuation centres filled up with residents after Hagibis, which means “speed” in the Philippine language of Tagalog, made landfall on Saturday evening.
Rie Hasegawa, a woman in her 30s, told Reuters she never imagined her landlocked town would face a water-related disaster.
“The force of the water was incredible. It was dark, frightening, and I thought this might be the end,” she said.
Shinzo Abe, Japan’s prime minister, has convened an emergency meeting of ministers and set up a task force to deal with damage from the storm.
“The government will do everything in its power to cooperate with relevant agencies and operators working to restore services as soon as possible,” he said.
The full extent of the damage has not yet emerged as many areas remained underwater on Sunday, public broadcaster NHK said.
Tokyo Electric Power Co has reported irregular readings from sensors monitoring water overnight in its Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, which was crippled by a 2011 earthquake and tsunami.
Just last month, another strong storm, Typhoon Faxai, destroyed or damaged 30,000 houses in Chiba, east of Tokyo, and caused extensive power outages.
Agencies contributed to this report