The Modern Tokyo Times

International news and neglected issues

Typhoon Talas: 54 dead and many still missing

Typhoon Talas: 54 dead and many still missing

James Jomo

Modern Tokyo Times

The death toll from Typhoon Talas continues to rise and latest reports state 54 dead and another 55 people are still unaccounted for.  This would indicate that more bodies will be found in the next few days and the devastation is also causing major problems for rescue workers.

Parts of Wakayama prefecture and Nara prefecture bore the brunt of Typhoon Talas but other areas were also hit.  The Kii Peninsula is a very beautiful part of Japan but many communities reside in remote areas and the infrastructure in parts of this region relies heavily on a limited number of major roads. 

Therefore, rescue teams are being hampered by both the devastation of Typhoon Talas and the terrain of this part of Japan. This fact is behind the reason why 480 people are still stranded after many days since the typhoon struck Japan and the same can be said about the fact that many people are still missing.

The Ground Self-Defense Force of approximately 2,000 personnel is impacting heavily on the effectiveness of the search and rescue mission. Also, approximately 500 police officers are involved and clearly their local knowledge is highly valued and both are working closely together.

This can be seen by the total of stranded people being reduced significantly from the day before.  Therefore, the number of people cut off after many days were reduced by around 2,000 people.  At the same time helicopters are dropping off essential supplies and a great deal of focus is being put on water supplies and electricity. 

In my last article about this ongoing crisis I added that “At the height of the storm the strength reached 108km/h and many homes were destroyed and some were swept away by the brute force which created floods and landslides.  Most of the dead resided in Wakayama prefecture and rescue teams are in the area and looking for people who are missing.”

“Nara was also badly hit and just like Wakayama you have many remote villages and this will add to the uncertainty about the final loss of life total.  Totsukawa in Nara was badly hit and mudslides happened in Tanabe in Wakayama.”

Nachikatsuura and Shingu both suffered badly in Wakayama prefecture and all areas hit will need major financing after the rescue and search operation is over.  Therefore, it is essential that local authorities and the central government work hand in hand once both places have been restored to some sort of normality.

Of course the death toll means that normality for many people will never return because many people have been killed by Typhoon Talas.  This fact means that it is essential for major resources to be put into areas which have been badly hit and this will further put strains on the central government after the devastating March 11 earthquake and tsunami.

Also, the Fukushima crisis is still not over and with so many internal issues it is abundantly clear that the new leader of Japan faces major problems. The military of Japan is turning into a search and rescue unit because of the ravages of nature.

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