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Typhoon leaves eleven dead in northern Japan

The bodies were discovered in a riverside care complex half buried in mud, uprooted trees and rubble after Typhoon Lionrock tore through the region, dumping torrential rain over a wide area.

Footage from public broadcaster NHK showed a helicopter hovering over the building in Iwaizumi on the island of Honshu, as rescuers tried to pluck other stranded residents to safety.

A district disaster official told AFP the nine elderly people died as a result of mud that swamped the facility.

“The nearby Omoto river flooded and lots of water mixed with mud, trees and rubble gushed into the building complex,” he said, adding that the nine people “were buried in mud inside the facility building.”

The nine were the only people in that building, he said.

Media reports said the building was reserved for people with dementia and another 86 elderly residents and employees were in another facility building at the time.

Police “are trying to confirm the identities of these bodies,” Shuko Sakamoto, a spokeswoman for police in Iwate prefecture, told AFP.

The death toll from the powerful storm rose to 11 after an elderly woman was found dead in her flooded home nearby, and another body was discovered not far from the nursing home, the Fire and Disaster Management Agency said.

Aerial footage showed a broad swathe of flooded land, with parked cars half submerged in murky water.

Lionrock slammed into northern Japan on Tuesday evening, dumping heavy rain that caused flooding and triggered power outages.

Japan’s Disaster Medical Assistance Team has sent rescuers to Iwaizumi.

Unusual Path

The typhoon, with winds of over 160 kilometers an hour when it made landfall, also caused flooding on the northern island of Hokkaido.

The typhoon was later reclassified as an extratropical cyclone and moved out into the Sea of Japan at midnight, said the Japan Meteorological Agency.

The full scale of damage, however, did not become apparent until daybreak when rescue operations began in earnest.

In Hokkaido, the northernmost of Japan’s four main islands, one person who had been inside a car was missing in the town of Taiki, police and government officials said.