| Police walk through a flooded street in Kagoshima on Tuesday. (AFP)
Tokyo, Sept. 6 (Reuters): A typhoon pummelled southwestern Japan today, causing floods and landslides that left at least six dead and 13 missing, and paralysing transport. Officials ordered more than 100,000 people to flee their homes.
At about 0500 GMT, the eye of Typhoon Nabi made landfall at Isahaya near Nagasaki on mountainous Kyushu, Japan’s third-biggest main island and home to about 10 per cent of the country’s almost 130 million population.
A total of about 110,000 residents of Kyushu and the neighbouring main island of Shikoku were told to evacuate, Kyodo news agency said, while more than 16,000 left voluntarily.
Six people were killed, 13 were missing and 81 were injured, public broadcaster NHK reported.
A 75-year-old man died when a landslide crushed his house in Miyazaki on the southwestern island of Kyushu, NHK said.
Winds had weakened slightly but were still gusting at up to 126 km an hour at the storm’s centre, Japan’s Meteorological Agency said.
Troops were sent to help evacuate residents of Takaoka-cho in Kyushu after the governor of Miyazaki prefecture sought assistance, Japan government spokesman Hiroyuki Hosoda said.
“There is expected to be further damage due to the typhoon so all agencies and ministries are joining together to respond,” Hosoda said.
Nabi, which means “butterfly” in Korean, was moving north at 30 km an hour but was forecast to swing east and beat a path up the Japan Sea coast, bringing rain and strong winds to western Japan and parts of South Korea before hitting the northernmost main Japanese island of Hokkaido. It was not expected to hit China.
Airlines in South Korea cancelled dozens of domestic and international flights today because of the weather and ships were warned to stay in port.
Television showed roads deep under water in the Kyushu city of Kagoshima and waves engulfing coastal roads on the island, which has a mixture of heavy industry and agriculture.
More than 1,300 mm of rain had fallen in some parts of Kyushu in 24 hours, NHK said. The slow pace at which the typhoon is moving means further heavy rains are expected before it moves on.
Hundreds of flights and ferries in and out of Kyushu and Shikoku were cancelled because of high winds.
Car makers Toyota, Nissan and Mazda suspended work at assembly plants in southwestern Japan as a safety precaution.
Honda had also halted production on Monday night at a factory in Kyushu that makes motorcycles, power products and engines, and said it would cancel the day's work on Tuesday.
The car makers said they saw no long-term impact from the suspension since lost production could be made up through overtime or other means.
Oil refiner Kyushu Oil Co. said the storm was affecting production at some secondary units in Oita. It halted oil shipments in the area.
In South Korea, one unidentified man, believed to be in his 60s, has been missing since he was swept away in a rising river in the southern city of Ulsan on Tuesday, a National Emergency Management Agency official said.
Yonhap News reported that a couple of landslides disrupted traffic in southeastern South Korea.
Web site Tropical Storm Risk http://forecast.mssl.ucl.ac.uk/shadow/tracker/dynamic/main.html, which had initially classified Nabi as a Category 4 storm, downgraded it to a Category 1 late on Tuesday.
Nabi follows the region's previous typhoon, Talim, which killed 97 in eastern China over the past few days, with 30 people still missing, the China Daily reported on Tuesday.
The typhoon and resulting floods and landslides had forced more than 1.7 million Chinese from their homes and caused a record 12.5 billion yuan ($1.55 billion) in direct losses in eastern provinces, the state-run newspaper said.