Typhoon Jebi left behind 11 Japanese dead, more than 600 injured and numerous damage to property, and caused chaos at the Kansai airport in Osaka, where thousands of passengers were evacuated on Wednesday.
The twenty-first typhoon of the season in Asia, whose winds approached 160 km/hour in its center and 220 km / h in its periphery, crossed the archipelago from the southwest to the north, where it was losing strength until becoming a storm.
Jebi, the most powerful typhoon to reach Japan since 1993, did not cause as many victims as others of the last decade. In October 2013, Cyclone Wipha had killed 43 people. And in September 2011, the typhoon Talas left 82 dead and 16 missing.
The Osaka region has been the most affected with numerous damaged buildings, broken electric poles, ripped trees and shattered roofs, as at the Kyoto station. According to the Jiji news agency, five of the deceased were in that area.
– Chaos at the airport –
The Kansai airport, located on an artificial island in the sea, was flooded and isolated with 3,000 passengers and several hundred employees inside after a tanker collided with the bridge that connects the place to the mainland.
All spent the night in the terminals, without electricity or air conditioning, according to testimonies collected by the NHK television channel. “Frankly, I have feared for my life,” said one of the blocked employees at the airport.
This Wednesday morning, several ferries transported everyone to the Kobe airport, located further west, as the Kansai airport was not able to reopen.
“We do not know exactly how much time we will need to evacuate everyone but we are doing everything we can to end it today,” an airport spokesperson told AFP.
The airlines, which had suspended about 800 flights on Tuesday, again cancelled about 160 on Wednesday, according to NHK data.
“It is difficult to say what impact this typhoon will have on economic activity, if the [Kansai] airport remains closed for a long time, this will affect tourism revenues in the region,” said Koshu Tokunaga, spokesman for the Kansai Economic Federation.
– Dump trucks –
However, rail traffic was returning to normality little by little.
Up to 2.4 million homes and buildings were left without power due to the typhoon, although by early Wednesday the flow had been restored in more than half of them.
Some 16,000 people spent the night in shelters, according to the Jiji news agency, after authorities recommended evacuating their homes to 1.2 million inhabitants.
The suspension of numerous trips on Tuesday had prompted companies to ask their employees to stay at home, a decision that minimized the damage, according to experts.
Road traffic became almost impossible with Jebi’s strong winds pushing the trucks and dragging or dumping the lighter vehicles.
Japan usually suffers the attacks of typhoons in summer, but this year has been particularly difficult.
A month and a half ago, unprecedented rains caused huge floods and landslides that claimed the lives of 220 people.
And a suffocating wave of damp heat hit Japan in July, leaving 119 dead and forcing 49,000 people to the hospital.