Typhoon Chaba lashes East Asia

Typhoon Chaba has hit southern Japan, killing five people and leaving more than 50 injured.

Around 6,000 people have left their homes for temporary shelters, amid warnings of floods and landslides.

Meanwhile the Philippines is still suffering from heavy floods, due to both Typhoon Chaba and Typhoon Aere.

Thousands of people have been evacuated from the central Luzon area, and officials say at least 29 people have died since the flooding began.

Chaba, which takes its name from the Thai word for hibiscus, is the 16th typhoon to affect the region this year.

Typhoons frequently hit East Asia during the summer, gathering strength from warm sea waters.

Japan buffeted

Typhoon Chaba struck the Japanese island of Kyushu early on Monday morning, generating winds measuring 210km/h (130mph) - reportedly a record high for the area.

Japanese television has been showing pictures of huge waves battering coastal buildings, and people in the city of Kumamoto wading through knee-high water.

"Nothing like this has ever happened before," one man told the Japanese television station NHK.

About 300,000 homes on Kyushu island are without electricity, according to local power company officials.

Police said two elderly men had been swept to their deaths on Kyushu island by the gales - a 71-year-old who was blown off a roof, and a 82-year-old who fell from a ladder while attempting to saw a branch off a tree.

A 51-year-old woman was also killed when she fell from a roof on the neighbouring island of Shikoku.

The National Police Agency said 30 people had so far been injured, while another two had been reported missing.

The typhoon has also led to transport disruptions, with hundreds of flights, ferries and train journeys in the region being cancelled.

A Vietnamese cargo ship carrying 20 crew was run aground near Shikoku, the local coast guard said in a statement.

The typhoon is now moving up Japan's west coast, say weather officials, taking a similar route to Typhoon Magi, which caused 10 deaths earlier in August.

Philippine floods

More than a million people in the central Philippines have been affected by floods and landslides during five days of heavy rain, triggered by the two latest regional typhoons.

Towns and cities in the centre of the main island of Luzon were submerged, and many people were drowned or buried by mud.

Although the rains have stopped and the floods are receding, rescue efforts continue in low-lying areas.

Many parts of central Luzon, a vast plain of rice fields and fish ponds, remain inaccessible, according to the BBC's correspondent in Manila, Sarah Toms.

After the worst flooding in the area in 30 years, the damage to agriculture and infrastructure is estimated at $8m.

With food supplies running low, some of the displaced victims have resorted to hunting rats and birds in the flooded rice paddies.

The Philippines is hit by at least 17 typhoons every year - the most destructive ever being Typhoon Thelma, which killed about 5,000 people in 1991.

30/08/2004

Bron : BBC News

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