TOKYO: The search resumed yesterday for 18 people still missing after last week’s typhoon-sparked landslides on a Japanese island, as meteorologists warned of another “very strong” storm.
Following a weekend hiatus because of rough weather, emergency crews were back combing through the tonnes of mud that engulfed houses overnight today on Oshima, an island 120 kilometres (75 miles) south of Tokyo.
The weekend’s heavy rain brought more misery to the island after the landslides, which killed at least 28 people, with 2,300 residents advised to leave their homes for fear of further calamity.
With the advisory lifted as of 8am, some 1,200 police officers, rescue workers and soldiers were back at their grim task, an official said.
“As the (next) typhoon is coming and rain is expected to start falling again, we would like to do as much searching as possible beforehand, and return the missing to their families,” Oshima mayor Masafumi Kawashima said.
“The town (has) advised residents to return home for now and calmly prepare for the next evacuation.”
Typhoon Francisco, which forecasters say is “very strong”, was approaching Japan, moving north-northwest at the speed of 10 kilometres (6 miles) per hour in an area east of the Philippines, the Japan Meteorological Agency said yesterday morning.
Local authorities plan to evacuate nearly 550 people, mostly elderly residents, from the island as the upcoming typhoon appears on course to pass nearby.
Francisco is expected to reach Japan’s southern island chain of Okinawa by Thursday morning, it.
Japan is included in the Pacific Ring of Fire where a large number of earthquakes and volcanic eruptions occur in the basin of the Pacific Ocean.