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Japan’s Worst Cyclone Since 2004 Leaves 26 Dead, 53 Missing

Tropical Storm Leaves 25 Dead in Japan, 53 Missing
Rescue workers and Japan Self-Defence Force soldiers search for missing people amongst a destroyed house caused by floodwaters in Tanabe, Wakayama prefecture, in western Japan. Source: Jiji Press/AFP/Getty Images

Sept. 5 (Bloomberg) -- Tropical Storm Talas killed 26 people and left 53 missing as the worst cyclone in seven years pummeled Japan, knocking out power, roads and bridges, while record rains caused landslides that swept dozens of houses away.

More than 440,000 people were ordered or advised to evacuate, the Fire and Disaster Management Agency said. The government dispatched emergency teams to the Kansai region of western Japan as the storm brought downpours that flooded rivers and caused landslides.

About 170 houses are destroyed or damaged and more than 5,400 homes were flooded, according to the FDMA. The heaviest damage was in Wakayama prefecture south of Osaka, where four bridges were destroyed, according to the local emergency response team. More than 19,000 households remain without power, the agency said.

In nearby Nara prefecture, 1,652.5 millimeters (65 inches) of rain fell in the three days through yesterday, a record for a 72-hour period in Japan, Hirotsugu Yamamoto, an official in the statistical bureau of the Japan Meteorological Agency said.

Nearly 27,000 homes in the prefecture were without power today, according to the Nara emergency response unit.

The storm was the most deadly to hit the country in seven years, the Yomiuri newspaper said. As many as 98 people were killed or went missing in a storm in 2004.

The center of Talas, which has weakened to a tropical depression since earlier today, was over the Sea of Japan after making landfall on Sept. 3 and passing over the islands of Shikoku and Honshu.

Warnings for heavy rain and landslides remain in effect for central Honshu and parts of the north, which is still recovering from the March 11 earthquake and tsunami.

Japan Airlines Co. and All Nippon Airways Co. canceled 332 domestic and international flights, affecting about 31,000 passengers, the carriers said on Sept. 3.

To contact the reporters on this story: Makoto Miyazaki in Tokyo at mmiyazaki8@bloomberg.net; Aaron Sheldrick in Tokyo at asheldrick@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Teo Chian Wei at cwteo@bloomberg.net

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