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Home >> World
UPDATED: 12:57, September 08, 2005
Typhoon Nabi leaves 32 dead or missing in Japan
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Powerful typhoon Nabi left Japan after crisscrossing north to south in a path of destruction that left 32 dead or missing in Japan and South Korea and flooded thousands of homes.

The typhoon headed onto the Sea of Okhotsk east of Siberia nearly a week after it first built up in the subtropical Pacific waters south of Japan.

The worst hit area remained Miyazaki province on the southern island of Kyushu, where rice fields were deluged by a powerful downpour.

"We found another body, believed to be a 28-year-old man who had gone missing, in a rice field" flooded by the typhoon, an official at Miyazaki prefectural police said.

It has raised the death toll in Japan to 19, with at least eight others still missing. The search was also on for five people who are unaccounted for in South Korea.

With the typhoon bringing violent rains to most of the country, police said 139 people had been injured in 30 of Japan's 47 prefectures.

After hitting Kyushu, the typhoon made a sharp turn to the east, slamming into the northern island of Hokkaido but bypassing Japan's central population hubs.

Television footage showed residents in Hokkaido, which is rarely hit by typhoons, using buckets to bail water from their flooded houses as high waves lashed the coast.

"We have not received reports of injuries or deaths over the typhoon ... but we need to be on alert," a Hokkaido police official said, noting waves were still high and rivers were swollen.

Nabi, which means "butterly" in Korean, was 300 kilometers north of Abashiri City on Hokkaido's Okhotsk coast at 10:00 am (0100 GMT) and is forecast to weaken into a temperate depression later Thursday.

At its height, the typhoon packed winds of more than 90 kilometers (56 miles) an hour across a radius of nearly 300 kilometers, a greater area than Hurricane Katrina which ravaged New Orleans.

The typhoon flooded more than 8,000 houses, triggered 155 landslides and damaged 80 roads since the weekend, Japanese police said.

The disaster also indirectly hit Japan's election on Sunday, with Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi calling off campaign stops in the Osaka area Wednesday and staying near Tokyo due to the heavy rain.

Rescue workers in southern and western Japan continued to search for the missing using long, metal rods to feel under piles of mud for any buried victims.

In the southern rural town of Tarumi, rescuers found the bodies of two elderly women in their 70s at a house that was engulfed by a landslide.

In western Yamaguchi prefecture, a landslide collapsed a section of a highway, burying three people who were inside two houses.

Mainland Japan was struck by a record 10 typhoons last year. One of them, Tokage, was the deadliest in a quarter-century, killing 90 people.

In South Korea, an 18-year-old student was missing after heavy rains sent her car into a river, police said Wednesday.

Floods also swept away a 70-year-old man and three other people went missing overnight in South Korea, Yonhap news agency reported.

Source: CRI/agencies


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