09/05/2011, 00.00
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Japan, typhoon Talas leaves dozens dead or missing

The government has set up an emergency task force and evacuation order for 460 thousand people. It is the most destructive typhoon since 2004. The provisional toll of about 27 confirmed dead and at least 54 missing.
Tokyo (AsiaNews / Agencies) - At least 27 dead and 54 missing is the preliminary toll from the passage of typhoon "Talas" in south-western Japan, where over 3600 people are still isolated. At dawn, the police and fire departments resumed the search for those still missing, and warned that the situation is serious enough to expect further casualties. Torrential rains brought by "Talas" have caused rivers to overflow as well as flooding, mudslides and landslides, which in turn have destroyed houses, bridges and roads, making rescue operations more difficult.

The first typhoon hit the island of Shikoku and having swept the southern part of Honshu Island now heading north-east over the Sea of Japan, at an average speed of 15 mph with gusts reaching but peaks of more than 100 km per hour. The alert remains in force in 38 of the country’s 43 provinces. "Talas" is the most destructive typhoon to hit Japan since 2004.

The government has created a task force to coordinate the emergency rescue operations. The new government of Yoshihiko Noda, a few days ago has replaced that of Naoto Kan, criticized for its handling of the earthquake and tsunami disaster of last March. The authorities have issued alerts and evacuation orders affecting about 460 thousand inhabitants. The typhoon has destroyed entire villages, while bridges and roads have disappeared under the water. In Nara Prefecture seven people died when a river swept away their home.
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