Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Death toll rises to 49 after storm hits Japan

The death toll from the storm known as Talas has risen to 49 in Japan, emergency officials said Wednesday.

Another 58 people are missing after the storm hit western Japan, unleashing record rainfall and triggering landslides and flooding, according to a tally of casualties compiled from 12 prefectural police agencies.

The Japan Meteorological Agency briefly classified the storm as a typhoon before it made landfall. The Joint Typhoon Warning Center recorded the storm making landfall in Japan as a tropical storm.

The storm caused at least 34 deaths in hard-hit Wakayama, south of Tokyo, officials said. Another 34 people were missing there.

"I have been working for the prefectural office over 40 years, but this is the worst in my memory," said Tsutomu Furukawa of Wakayama prefecture. Wakayama is one of three prefectures on the mountainous Kii Peninsula, where damage from Talas was concentrated as the storm swept across the area on Saturday. more