Residents trapped by rising floodwaters use special disaster hashtags to get the attention of the Self-Defence Forces.

Typhoon Hagibis barrelled through Japan last night, making landfall in Shizuoka Prefecture at approximately 7:00 p.m. before travelling northward over Tokyo and its surrounding Kanto and Tohoku regions after a day of constant, torrential rain.

According to news reports, the typhoon claimed the lives of 23 people in 10 prefectures, as record amounts of rainfall caused landslides and extensive flooding, with at least 11 people reported missing and over 140 injured.

The Ministry of Land, Infrastructure and Transport told the media that 21 rivers broke at a total of 24 locations, including the Tama River in Setagaya, which sits on the border between Tokyo and Kanagawa Prefectures.

▼ The section between the stairs and the row of trees is usually a park where people enjoy barbecues.

The Kuji River in Ibaraki Prefecture also surged, inundating nearby streets with water.

The Abukuma River in Fukushima overflowed, causing flooding in cities like Koriyama

▼ And Motomiya.

With waters rising to up to four metres (13 feet) in some parts, the Japan Self-Defence Forces scrambled to the area to rescue stranded residents.

The JSDF were also called to the Hoyasu district in Nagano, where a levee broke on the Chikuma River, inundating the nearby residential district with water that rose as high as the second storey on homes.

The JSDF worked with local disaster prevention staff during the rescue operation to pinpoint residents that needed to be evacuated by helicopter. Twitter proved to be a vital resource in this regard, as rescue teams kept an eye out for emergency hashtags online.

One of the recommended hashtags to use in an emergency situation is #救助 (#kyuujo), which means “rescue”, and it should be included with location information and a photo or video showing your current situation.

Many people in need of rescuing today used the #救助 hashtag, along with the hashtag #救助要請 (#kyuujo yosei) which means “appeal for rescue” and #台風19号長野県被害 (“Typhoon No. 19 Nagano Prefecture Damage“), as instructed by the Nagano Prefecture Disaster Prevention Twitter account.

The images of dangerously high floodwaters and information about the household members who needed saving was a heartbreaking read (and one that Nagano Prefecture recommended people delete for personal safety reasons immediately after rescue) but it proved to be successful, as there were no deaths or casualties in relation to the Chikuma rescue emergency as a result.

▼ The police, fire department, and the Self-Defense Forces rescued more than 110,000 people due to the typhoon.

According to East Japan Railway Company, however, one-third of its Hokuriku Shinkansen line bullet trains were badly damaged by flooding from the Chikuma River.

The trains above, which were located at a carriage centre in Akanuma used for repairing and storing Shinkansen, were damaged after water entered the facility.

With 10 trains, (a total of 120 carriages) damaged by the floodwaters, JR East were unable to fully resume service on the Hokuriku line today and may have to operate with fewer trains on the line in the immediate future.

The Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism is proceeding with drainage work at affected areas, and now that the typhoon has passed through Japan, the country is hoping this marks the end to this year’s typhoon season.

Sources: Asahi ShimbunJiji Press
Featured image: Twitter/@kjhnmo2yz0v0y_s
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