Japan has dispatched tens of thousands of troops and rescue workers to save stranded residents and fight floods caused by one of the worst typhoons to hit the country in recent history.
Typhoon Hagibis, which means “speed” in the Philippine language Tagalogas, killed 35 people and caused extensive flooding and landslides as it tore through Tokyo and large swaths of Japan’s main island of Honshu over the weekend.
It triggered 56 landslides in 15 prefectures and 21 rivers broke their banks, the government said.
Overnight, more than 4.4 million people were ordered to evacuate their homes in east and northeast Japan, including 910,000 in the city of Kawasaki, as the storm brought heavy rains and powerful winds, inundating residential areas.
In Tokyo, about 80,000 residents spent the night at emergency shelters amid fears of massive flooding.
At least 35 people were killed, 19 others missing and more than 170 injured, local media reported, after Hagibis made landfall in the Izu Peninsula, hitting central and eastern Japan on Saturday evening.
Rescue workers accidentally dropped a 77-year-old woman 40 metres to the ground in the northeast city of Iwaki while transporting her in a helicopter.
She was taken to hospital but later died from her injuries.
The Tokyo Fire Department admitted during a press conference that the pensioner had not been strapped in properly while being airlifted in Iwaki city in Fukushima.
They said one person is supposed to attach the hook and another confirms it is securely in place, but the procedure was not followed in this case.
Officials from the department apologised, bowing deeply and for a long time in accordance with Japanese custom.
Cars and vast swathes of residential areas were submerged in muddy waters after the bank of the Chikuma River collapsed, causing massive flooding in the city of Nagano and neighbouring areas.
Authorities estimated that some areas may see floodwaters of up to five metres deep.
About 166,000 households remained without electricity as of 5 pm local time on Sunday.
Government spokesman Yoshihide Suga said the typhoon had “brought disaster” to extremely broad regions.
The government is “doing its utmost” to engage in search and rescue operations and recovery efforts, he said.
Although they had their match cancelled, Canadian rugby players pitched in and helped with recovery efforts in Kamaishi.
About 800 flights for Sunday have been cancelled, following the cancellation of more than 1600 flights on the previous day, while many train services in the Tokyo region remained suspended.
The typhoon weakened to an ex-tropical cyclone over the Pacific around noon.
Concerns within the country are growing that there may be more storms similar to Hagibis in the future due to climate change.