Death toll rises as Typhoon Hagibis batters Japan with 'unprecedented' rain

This general view shows damaged homes caused by strong wind brought by Typhoon Hagibis in Ichihara, Chiba prefecture on October 12, 2019. (AFP)
This general view shows damaged homes caused by strong wind brought by Typhoon Hagibis in Ichihara, Chiba prefecture on October 12, 2019. (AFP)

Powerful Typhoon Hagibis barrelled through Japan on Saturday, killing at least three people and lashing large parts of the country with "unprecedented" rain that caused floods, landslides and emergency disaster warnings.

Around 7.3 million people were given non-compulsory evacuation orders, and more than 90 were injured, while 14 people were reported missing as flooding hit many towns and cities.

WATCH | Two dead as 'unprecedented' Typhoon Hagibis slams into Japan

Even before making landfall, Hagibis wreaked havoc on two major sporting events, the Rugby World Cup - where two matches were cancelled for the first time in its 32-year history - and the Japanese Grand Prix, which postponed qualifying.

Transport disruption was also widespread, with authorities halting suburban trains in Tokyo throughout most of Saturday, suspending several bullet train lines and cancelling all flights in and out of the capital's two main airports.

Hagibis smashed into the main Japanese island of Honshu around 19:00 (10:00 GMT) as one of the most violent typhoons in recent years, with wind gusts of up to 216km/h.

Deaths

Well before making landfall, the outer bands of the storm claimed their first victim, a driver whose van was flipped over in the strong gusts.

The second confirmed death was a man in his 60s killed in a landslide north of Tokyo.

Another man in his 60s was also confirmed dead after he was pulled from his flooded home in Kawasaki city, near Tokyo.

"The house was two to three metres (yards) under water and the team rescued the man from there" but he was confirmed dead later, local fire department official Kiichi Hayakawa told AFP.

Public broadcaster NHK also said a woman near Tokyo was feared dead after a landslide.

The typhoon even caused a tornado in Chiba, east of Tokyo, an area badly damaged by Typhoon Faxai last month.

The twister destroyed one house and damaged several others. Five people - including a 3-year-old boy - were taken to hospital with minor injuries.

They were among at least 96 people injured in the typhoon, with at least 14 still unaccounted for, Japanese media reported.

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