Typhoon Haishen hits south-west Japan, thousands evacuated

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Super typhoon Haishen barrelled towards the south of Japan, towards Okinawa on Sunday. The Fire and Disaster Management Agency (FDMA) had issued early evacuation warnings along the predicted path of the typhoon for over one lakh households in Okinawa, a southern island prefecture on September 6. Kagoshima, Kumamoto and Nagasaki prefectures on Kyushu island had also been given such warnings.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said that the typhoon’s landfall would bring “record rains, winds, waves and high tides” at a meeting with his cabinet ministers, later asking people to exercise utmost caution. Japan’s national broadcaster NHK reported that the typhoon has caused power cuts in over 3,000 homes in Okinawa and nearly 30,000 houses in Kagoshima prefectures. While speaking to NHK, Japan’s defence minister Taro Kono said that 22,000 troops had been deployed to deal with the destruction that Haishen would bring in high-risk areas. More than eighty-five lakh people were issued evacuation orders and advisories across south-western Japan. 

Bullet train operations have been halted, affecting around 32,800 passengers. All Nippon Airways and Japan Airlines suspended over 300 flights on Sunday and more than 370 flights on Monday.

 Super typhoon Haishen is the second one to hit Japan in less than a week. Tropical storms, depressions and typhoons are an annual occurrence during a period called the Pacific Typhoon season, during which Japan experiences storms from May to October, which peak in August and September every year. 

Typhoon Haishen is travelling northwards with sustained wind speeds up to 35 kilometres per hour and is expected to reach the southeastern port city of Busan by Monday morning. The country’s Central Disaster and Safety Countermeasures Headquarters increased the warning to the highest level in the four-level system, bracing for the season’s tenth typhoon.

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