Nine people have lost their lives at an elderly care home in northern Japan
as a powerful typhoon ripped through the region, causing heavy flooding and damage.
Typhoon Lionrock, a powerful and erratic tropical cyclone, hit Iwate Prefecture in Japan’s northern Tohoku region, particularly the towns of Iwaizumi and Ofunato, where the storm made landfall on Tuesday evening, triggering heavy rainfall, fierce winds and huge swells.
“We are trying to confirm the identities of these bodies” found in the riverside nursing home in Iwaizum, said Iwate prefectural police Shuko Sakamoto on Wednesday.
An aerial view shows a flooded residential area from heavy rains by Typhoon Lionrock in Kuji, Iwate Prefecture, Japan, on August 31, 2016. ©Reuters
A video released by Japan’s state broadcaster NHK showed the elderly home half buried in mud and rubble with a chopper hovering over it, trying to rescue the entrapped people.
According to NHK, police discovered the bodies after rushing to the facility to rescue those trapped.
High waves triggered by Typhoon Lionrock crash on a coast of the city of Ishinomaki, Miyagi Prefecture, Japan, on August 30, 2016. ©Reuters
As a precaution, all schools had been closed in the region and hundreds of residents evacuated. Lionrock also forced over 120 domestic flights to ground, while some Shinkansen bullet train services were also suspended.
Earlier in the month, Typhoon Mindulle forced airlines across the country to cancel a total of 387 flights, mostly to and from Tokyo’s Haneda airport.
The Tohoku region was also hit by a disastrous earthquake and a tsunami in March 2011, which left over 18,000 dead along wide swaths of the country’s northern coast.