Typhoon Maria hits Japan as 155 dead from last week's storm
Hundreds of thousands still without water and still millions displaced as Japan braces for typhoon Maria. "No water, food, nothing gets here," residents say.
Japan is suffering from further rains and flooding as typhoon Maria batters its southwest shores with 204 kph winds and 255 kph gusts. The storm is maintaining its westward trajectory and predicted to hit Taiwan, according to the Japanese Meteorology Agency (JMA).
This category five typhoon is the Pacific’s most powerful storm on record this year.
The islands nation is already struggling to find over 60 residents still missing and restore utilities after it was hit by the most devastating storm in 36 years. The major storm, which began late last week, has killed 155 people so far in landslides and flooding, mainly in the Hiroshima province, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said.
The JMA reported that southwest parts of the country received as much as 10 centimeters of rain per hour during the heaviest deluges. The town of Motoyama, located on Shikoku island, registered 583 mm of rainfall between Friday and Saturday.
Survivors are now facing sweltering temperatures and a lack of potable water as agencies work to restore power and utilities while searching for those unaccounted for.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has sent in around 75,000 troops and nearly 80 government helicopters to assist in rescue efforts. He also canceled a scheduled trip to the Middle East in order to manage this historic problem at home.
"No water, food, nothing gets here," Ichiro Tanabe, a 73-year-old Kure resident, told local media. "We are going to be all dried up if we continue to be isolated.
All but 3,500 customers are still without electricity, however, 200,000 are without water in summer temperatures that hover around 33 degrees Celsius.
"There have been requests for setting up air-conditioners due to rising temperatures above 30 degrees today, and at the same time we need to restore lifelines," Finance Minister Taro Aso told the press on Tuesday.
Thousands of residents in the region were rescued by military helicopters as they were stranded on their rooftops or emergency agency boats that floated along the streets of flooded cities.
Some residents ignored government warnings to leave their homes to avoid imminent danger.
"We had evacuation orders before and nothing happened, so I just thought this was going to be the same," Kenji Ishii, 57, told ABC. He remained in his home with wife and son.
The Government has set aside US$845 million to fund infrastructure repairs, Mr. Aso said.
The minister added they are preparing a taskforce and spending US$24 million to make immediate supply deliveries to evacuation centers in the region. More than two million were displaced by this storm that the JMA called "extremely dangerous."