AT least 26 people have died and more than 175 left injured after Typhoon Hagibis battered Japan with the heaviest rain and winds in 60 years.
More than seven million people were evacuated and 18 people are still missing after the 140mph storm made landfall yesterday – sparking landslides and floods.
A huge swathe 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]
Public broadcaster NHK reports the death toll is rising today, as Japan reels in the aftermath of the devastating storm.
More than 376,0000 homes lost power and 14,000 have no running water, as thousands are stranded among floodwater and debris.
Landslides near Tokyo’s suburbs destroyed houses, with flooding crippling the country – 800 flights were cancelled and bullet train services heavily hit.
Some 27,000 members of Japan’s self-defence forces as well as firefighters, police and coastguard members have been deployed in the recovery efforts following one of the worst typhoons in recent years.
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.”
Military helicopters airlifted stranded people from homes near the river, some cradling their children, after they were trapped by water reaching the roofs of their houses.
In Fukushima, north of the capital, Tokyo Electric Power Co (Tepco) reported irregular readings from sensors monitoring water in its Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant. The plant was crippled by a 2011 earthquake and tsunami.
Tepco spokeswoman Emi Iwasa said the typhoon triggered 11 leak alerts at the plant.
Of those, eight were confirmed as being triggered by rainwater and the rest were still being investigated.
Hagibis, which means “speed” in the Philippine language Tagalog, made landfall on Japan’s main island of Honshu on Saturday evening and headed out to sea early on Sunday – leaving behind cloudless skies and high temperatures across the country.
NHK showed fields and vast residential areas in parts of central and eastern Japan covered in brown water, with some of the worst damage caused by Chikuma river in Nagano prefecture.
In Kawagoe, north of Tokyo, rescuers took residents from a flooded aged care facility by inflatable boats and carried them on their backs to safety.
They also searched for survivors in homes destroyed in landslides near Tokyo’s suburbs and in Fukushima prefecture, NHK showed.
Houses have been flattened by the strong winds[/caption]
Roads have been ripped apart and the areas affected ground to a halt[/caption]
Bullet trains are pictured here surrounded by floodwater[/caption]
RUGBY WORLD CUP CANCELLATIONS
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe convened an emergency meeting and sent the minister in charge of disaster management to the affected areas.
He said: “I extend my condolences for all those who lost their lives and offer my sympathy to all those impacted by Typhoon No.19 (Hagibis).
“With respect to blackouts, water outage and suspension of transportation services, we intend to exert all-out efforts for the earliest recovery … we ask the public to remain vigilant of landslides and other hazards.”
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]
Weather models projected the monster storm would continue on a north-westerly path after hitting land.
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.”
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.