UKIHA, Japan — Flood-battered southwestern Japan yesterday braced for a typhoon amid fears it could heap further misery on an area where at least 32 are dead or missing after record rainfall.
Typhoon Khanun was lashing the Amami island chain, south of Kyushu where four days of torrential rain have sparked landslides and flooding, forcing hundreds of thousands of people from their homes.
Khanun — “jack fruit” in Thai — packing winds of up to 126 km per hour, was moving west-northwest at 30 km per hour and was expected to graze the west of Kyushu island through this afternoon, the Japan Meteorological Agency said.
A lull in the rainfall was experienced in most of the region as the weather agency said there was up to 9.2 cm of rain in the 24 hours to 4:20 pm in the north of Kyushu.
In hard-hit Minamiaso in Kumamoto prefecture, more than 670 people remained unable to return to their homes yesterday afternoon because of landslide fears.
“We started reconstruction work on damaged roads yesterday, but workers have been forced to step aside repeatedly by occasional rains,” said local official Hideki Kuraoka.
“Even a small amount of rain could trigger mudslides and more downpours are expected this afternoon. We remain on high alert,” he said.
Kuraoka said even though forecasters did not expect a direct hit from the typhoon, it was still a worry.
“We cannot know what damage will be caused by the typhoon,” he said. “We are being extremely vigilant about it.”
Most of the 400,000 people who were ordered or advised to leave their homes were allowed to return after authorities began lifting evacuation orders on Sunday.
Troops who were called in to help over the weekend yesterday continued their search for three people officially recorded as missing.
They recovered a man’s body from a ditch in Aso yesterday, raising the total death toll across the affected area to 29. — AFP