Typhoon Talas rips through Japan

2011-09-04 08:26

Tokyo - Powerful Typhoon Talas left a trail of heavy rainfall and mudslides as it moved northward past Japan on Sunday. At least six people have died and 20 others are missing, local media said.

Evacuation orders and advisories have been issued to 460 000 people in western and central Japan, Kyodo News agency reported.

NHK TV footage showed a bridge that had been swept away after intense rainfall, which caused a river to swell with brown torrents. People holding umbrellas waded through knee-deep water in city streets and residential areas.

The centre of the season's 12th typhoon was moving north across the Sea of Japan at a speed slower than 20km/h, the Japan Meteorological Agency said. It crossed the southern Japanese island of Shikoku and the central part of the main island of Honshu overnight on Sunday.

Because of the storm's slow speed, the agency warned that heavy rains and strong winds are likely to continue and could lead to flooding and landslides.

Three homes were buried in a landslide in Wakayama prefecture, and five people were still missing, although a 14-year old girl was rescued from the debris, according to NHK.

Seven people were reported missing in nearby Nara Prefecture, after homes were swept down a river, NHK said.

Among the dead were a woman who appeared to be in her 30s whose body was found in a river in Ehime prefecture on Shikoku, police said.

A 73-year-old man in Nara prefecture died after a landslide caused his house to collapse, police said.