Death toll rises as Typhoon Jebi batters Japan

Typhoon Jebi tracking update

At least nine people have been killed and more than 300 injured in wake of typhoon Jebi which battered the coast of Japan, overturning cars, disrupting air traffic, leaving thousands without power and forcing mass evacuations.

Early Wednesday, a tugboat towed the badly damaged 2,591-ton Houn Maru some 400 meters away from the airport bridge, revealing the severed road on the southern side of the bridge.

The typhoon has forced the shutdown of Kansai International Airport in Osaka Bay.

Coast Guard spokesman Keita Sakai said an 89-meter-long tanker, the Houunmaru, had been pushed by the strong typhoon winds from its anchorage at sea into the bridge connecting Kansai Airport with the mainland.

High waves hit breakwaters at a port of Aki, Kochi prefecture, Japan, Tuesday, Sept. 4, 2018.

The storm also led to the cancellation of over 800 domestic and global flights and closure of tourist places in Japan.

All flights are canceled, with the airport indicating that it has no plans to re-open its runways on Wednesday.

Japan's weather agency warned of possible landslides, flooding and violent winds, as well as high tides, lightning and tornadoes in a swathe of the Japanese archipelago including the major cities of Osaka and Kyoto as well as Tokyo.

Local media said the death toll in the storm stood at 11, with over 600 people injured. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, criticised for an initially slow response to devastating floods in July, posted repeated updates on the rescue efforts at Kansai.

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"We will do our best to get the airport functioning again", he said.

More than one million households remained without power Wednesday morning.

Typhoon Jebi crashed into Japan at around midday on Tuesday with powerful winds and heavy rainfall.

Local media said more than a million households were left without power by the storm, and evacuation advisories were issued for almost 1.2 million people, though only another 16,000 were under stronger - though still not mandatory - evacuation orders.

Another passenger, Miki Yamada, a 25-year-old office worker planning a trip to Thailand with her friend, said she spent the night at an airport cafeteria, Kyodo said.

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

Ferocious winds are forecast for west and east Japan through September 5, while the sea between Shikoku island and the Tokai region is expected to be extremely rough.

NHK also showed footage of a 100m-tall ferris wheel in Osaka turning furiously in the strong wind despite being switched off. "I've never seen anything like it", an onlooker told the public broadcaster NHK.

And the impact of Typhoon Jebi so far has already proven to be disastrous.

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