Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - Jebi leaves trail of destruction




Jebi leaves trail of destruction

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Vehicles lie piled in a heap due to strong winds in Kobe in Hyogo prefecture on Wednesday after typhoon Jebi hit the west coast of Japan. JIJI PRESS/AFP

Jebi leaves trail of destruction

A MAJOR airport that was cut off when a huge typhoon smashed through its sole access road was being evacuated Wednesday, as Japan grappled with devastation caused by its most powerful storm in a quarter of a century.

Boats and buses were ferrying stranded passengers from Kansai International Airport – one of the country’s busiest – after thousands of people were forced to spend the night in the partially flooded facility.

At least ten people were killed, and hundreds more injured by Typhoon Jebi as it raked through the major manufacturing area around Osaka – Japan’s second city – wrecking infrastructure and destroying homes.

Winds up to 216 kilometres per hour ripped off roofs, overturned trucks and swept a 2,500-ton tanker into a bridge leading to the region’s main international gateway.

The damage to the bridge left the artificial island temporarily cut off, stranding 3,000 travellers and additional staff overnight.

Runways were flooded as high waves washed into the facility on Tuesday, knocking out electricity and inundating buildings.

On Wednesday, boats began ferrying people out of the airport, and buses began to run on one side of the damaged bridge after safety inspections.

“We don’t know how many hours we need to bring everyone out but we’re doing our best to finish it by the end of today,” Kansai airport spokeswoman Yurino Sanada said.

She could not confirm how many people had left the airport so far, and there was no indication when the facility, which runs over 400 flights a day, might reopen.

“We had a blackout so there was no air conditioning. It was hot,” a woman told public broadcaster NHK after being ferried to Kobe.

‘Utmost efforts to respond’

Temperatures have hovered around 30 degrees Celsius.

“I’d never expected this amount of damage from a typhoon,” she said. “I couldn’t sleep, but I’m relieved because I thought I might not be able to get out,” another woman told the station.

Local media said the death toll in the storm stood at 11, with over 600 people injured.

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

“We continue to make utmost efforts to respond to disaster damage and restore infrastructure,” he said.

More than 1.2 million people had been advised to leave their homes as Jebi approached the Kansai area – Japan’s industrial heartland – although it was unclear how many had heeded the warnings. Around 16,000 people spent the night in shelters, local media said.

Jebi appears to have caused damage to the region’s infrastructure on an unusual scale.

In the tourist magnet of Kyoto – home to ancient temples and shrines – it brought down part of the ceiling of the main railway station, while in nearby Osaka, the high winds peeled scaffolding from a multi-storey building.

Businesses, factories and schools in the affected area shut down while the storm barrelled across the country, forcing the cancellation of hundreds of flights, “ferry services and some bullet trains.

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

Around 10 per cent of Japan’s exports leave from Kansai airport, said Yusuke Ichikawa, senior economist at Mizuho Research Institute.

“Logistics could be affected as it may take time for Kansai airport to restart operations,” he said.

But with other airports and ports nearby, companies might be able to reroute shipments to minimise disruption, he added.

Despite its strength, the storm was far from the deadliest Japan has seen in recent years.

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

Earlier this year, torrential rains lashed the west of the country, sparking flooding that killed more than 200 people as it laid waste to villages and caused hillsides to collapse.

MOST VIEWED

  • First Khmer woman to pass out of West Point

    The life of a soldier certainly isn’t for everyone. The training is gruelling, the hours long and there’s no room for excuses. On top of that, soldiers must be ready to respond to sudden threats at a moment’s notice. Just ask Sithyka

  • Tourists urged not to skip trip

    The Ministry of Tourism has called on international tourists not to cancel trips to Cambodia, but urged them to adhere to several dos and don’ts when arriving in the Kingdom during the Covid-19 pandemic. The ministry released an eight-point instruction manual on Wednesday published

  • The taxman cometh – Cambodia’s capital gains tax casts the net on individual taxpayers

    In a country where only limited personal income tax existed, the new taxation law beginning January 1, 2021, will make taxpayers out of Cambodians, whether they are ready for it or not About two years ago, a little known amendment was made to Article 7 of the Law

  • Cambodian-American gets Star Trek treatment

    Kevin Ung, a Cambodian-American whose family escaped genocide during the Khmer Rouge’s reign of terror, was recently selected from thousands of applicants to participate in the Television Academy Foundation’s inaugural 2020 Star Trek Command Training Programme, a course intended to give hands-on filmmaking experience

  • Cambodia seeks to be transport hub

    Cambodia is working on several fronts to modernise its transport infrastructure and services, concentrating on opening new international gates to relieve and balance traffic congestion at its borders, Minister of Public Works and Transport Sun Chanthol said on Thursday. This is part of the Kingdom’

  • Deminers unearth ancient lion statue

    Cambodia Mine Action Centre (CMAC) director-general Heng Ratana told The Post on Tuesday that a statue of a lion was found by mine clearance experts while they were digging for a development project. It was sent to the Ministry of Culture and Fine Arts last