AT LEAST 19 people have been killed and more than 100 are injured after Typhoon Hagibis battered Japan with the heaviest rain and winds in 60 years.
More than seven million people were evacuated and 16 people are still missing after the 140mph storm made landfall on Saturday.
A huge swath of land near the Chikuma River has been left underwater when the river broke its banks[/caption]
A car hangs off the side of a road after the country has been devastated by the typhoon[/caption]
Rescue efforts have started for people stranded in flooded areas[/caption]
Homes and buildings have collapsed after the strong winds whipped through Japan[/caption]
A road has been cut in half as floodwater destroys large chunks of Japan[/caption]
A man in his forties was among the dead when his car overturned in a tornado east of Tokyo, while others were injured when gales tore the roofs off a number of homes.
Broadcaster NHK warned the numbers of casualties may grow, as rescue teams attempt to reach those stranded in flooded areas. More than 376,0000 homes lost power and 14, 000 have no running water.
A family who sheltered in their home before it collapsed told Sky News: “I heard a loud bang. And I thought, the house is probably collapsing.
“We were buried under all the things.”My husband and my mum got out by themselves. And I was helped by my husband. And the other four of us were helped by firefighters.”
News footage showed a rescue helicopter hovering in a flooded area in Nagano Prefecture, after an embankment of the Chikuma River broke, plucking people from the second floor of a home submerged in muddy waters.
Several other rivers had also overflowed, including Tama River near Tokyo, according to NHK.
Authorities have warned that the risk of mudslides remained.
RUGBY WORLD CUP CANCELLATIONS
The Rugby World Cup match between Namibia and Canada, scheduled for Sunday in Kamaishi, northern Japan, was cancelled as a precautionary measure for safety reasons.
The matches for Saturday were cancelled, with stores and amusement parks closed.
Shortly before the typhoon made landfall a 5.7-magnitude earthquake was centred in the ocean off the coast of Chiba, near Tokyo.
The Japan Meteorological Agency issued the highest alert level for 12 regions, including Tokyo, warning of amounts of rain that occur only once in decades.
Houses are submerged in muddy waters as Typhoon Hagibis hit the area, in Kawagoe, north of Tokyo[/caption]
Kajihara said people who live near rivers must take shelter on the second floor or higher of any sturdy building if an officially designated evacuation centre wasn’t easily accessible.
Weather models projected the monster storm would continue on a north-westerly path.
Nobuyuki Tsuchiya, director of the Japan Riverfront Research Center, said Tokyo, where 1.5million people live below sea level, said residents were at risk of storm surges.
He said: “We are heading towards high tide. If the typhoon hits Tokyo when the tide is high, that could cause storm surges and that would be the scariest scenario.
“People in Tokyo have been in a false sense of security.”
Hagibis, which means “speed” in Filipino, was advancing North with maximum sustained winds of 111mph, according to the meteorological agency.
The deadliest Typhoon to hit Japan was Typhoon Ida, known as the “Kanogawa Typhoon” in 1958 where it killed more than 1,000 people.
England vs France in Yokohama was among the rugby matches to be called off, with Sunday’s games still under consideration.
But Scotland are hoping they are still able to play Japan in Yokohama on Sunday, with a quarter-final spot up for grabs.
New Zealand secured their place in the next round after their match against Italy – who still had a chance of progressing but now miss out – was cancelled.