Typhoon Jebi: Japan rushes to evacuate thousands of Kansai airport

<pre><pre>Typhoon Jebi: Japan rushes to evacuate thousands of Kansai airport

Typhoon Jebi left a trail of destruction on Tuesday, killing 11 people and injuring hundreds more as it struck western Japan with fierce winds and torrential rains.

As Japan was still collecting the pieces, the northern island of Hokkaido was rocked by a powerful 6.6 magnitude earthquake early on Thursday, although there were no immediate reports of damage or warnings of tsunamis.

The typhoon accumulated winds of up to 216 kilometers (135 miles) per hour, which tore roofs off, overturned trucks and swept a 2,500-ton tanker on the bridge to Kansai International Airport, the region's main international gateway and a national transportation center.

The damage to the bridge left the artificial island that houses the airport temporarily interrupted, leaving 3,000 stranded passengers stranded overnight because high waves flooded the runways and some buildings, causing the loss of energy.

On Wednesday, boats began to transport people out of the airport, and buses began to run to the side of the damaged bridge after security inspections.

"We are very sorry" that the passengers had to spend the night at the airport, an airport official said at a press conference.

"We will transport all travelers who wish to leave the airport at the end of today, but tomorrow we will continue the bus and ferry service," he said.

But the official added that it was not clear when the airport could be reopened, which operates more than 400 flights a day, while News from Kyodo He said it could take up to a week.

Public network poles collapse due to Typhoon Jebi in the city of Sennan, Osaka Prefecture, on September 5, 2018. Typhoon Jebi, which threatens life, touched down

AAP

An aerial photo shows a tanker that crashed on the bridge between Kansai International Airport and the main land due to the strong wind of Typhoon Jebi in the east of the airport

An aerial photo shows a tanker that crashed on the bridge between Kansai International Airport and the main land due to the strong wind of Typhoon Jebi.

AAP

"There were around 3,000 people stranded at the airport, but we believe that 2,000 to 2,500 of them have left, and we believe there are not many people left," said an official with the Ministry of Transport to AFP.

The spokeswoman of the airport, Yurino Sanada, told AFP: "We do not know how many hours we need to get everyone out, but we are doing everything possible to finish it by the end of today."

Rescued passengers spoke of their discomfort in suffocating temperatures after the typhoon of around 30 degrees Celsius (86 Fahrenheit) on Wednesday.

"We had a blackout so there was no air conditioning, it was hot," a woman told NHK public television after being transported to Kobe. "I had never expected this amount of damage from a typhoon."

Passengers who spent the night at Kansai International Airport in Izumisano, Osaka Prefecture, Western Japan, on September 5, 2018

Passengers who spent the night at Kansai International Airport in Izumisano, Osaka Prefecture, Western Japan, on September 5, 2018

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& # 39; Industrial heart & # 39;

Typhoon Jebi made landfall on Tuesday at noon and moved quickly over land, breaking the main manufacturing area around Osaka, the second city in Japan, destroying infrastructure and destroying houses.

Government spokesman Yoshihide Suga said 11 people were killed and 470 wounded. According to Kansai Electric, more than 400,000 homes were still without electricity.

In the tourist magnet of Kyoto, home to temples and ancient sanctuaries, he demolished part of the roof of the main railway station. In nearby Osaka, strong winds peeled scaffolding from a multi-storey building.

Companies, factories and schools in the affected area closed as the storm hit the country, forcing hundreds of flights, ferry services and some bullet trains to be canceled.

An aerial image shows burnt cars scattered in a courtyard in Nishinomiya, Hyogo prefecture, western Japan, on September 5, 2018.

An aerial image shows burnt cars scattered in a courtyard in Nishinomiya, Hyogo prefecture, western Japan, on September 5, 2018.

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The images showed containers piled up like dominoes and vehicles thrown by the wind, and others overturned.

More than 1.2 million people had been warned to leave their homes when Jebi approached the Kansai area, the industrial heart of Japan, although it was not clear how many had heeded the warning. Around 16,000 people spent the night in shelters, local media said.

Economists said it was too early to measure the impact of the storm on the local industry, with much depending on how long the airport remained closed.

About 10 percent of Japan's exports leave Kansai airport, said Yusuke Ichikawa, a senior economist at the Mizuho Research Institute.

"The logistics could be affected as it may take time for the Kansai airport to restart operations," he told AFP.

But with other airports and nearby ports, companies could reorient shipments to minimize disruptions, he added.

& # 39; Maximum efforts & # 39;

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, tweeting on his official account, said the government was struggling to get the airport back online.

"We continue to make every effort to respond to disaster damage and restore infrastructure," he said.

Japan is regularly hit by powerful typhoons in the summer and fall, many of which cause flooding and landslides in rural areas.

And Jebi was far from being the deadliest that Japan has seen in recent years.

In 2011, Typhoon Talas killed 82 people in the area, while in 2013 a storm that struck south of Tokyo left 40 people dead.

At the beginning of this year, torrential rains lashed the west of the country, causing floods that killed more than 200 people.