Japan allocates millions in aid for typhoon-hit regions

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Driftwood is piled around a bridge after Typhoon Hagibis hits the town in Marumori, Miyagi prefecture, northern Japan Wednesday, Oct. 16, 2019. (AP)
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A woman makes her way though the mud and debris from Typhoon Hagibis, with a phone hanging on the wire, front, at Hoyasu district in Nagano, central Japan Wednesday, Oct. 16, 2019. (AP)
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A man cleans debris in the aftermath of Typhoon Hagibis in Yanagawamachi district, Date City, Fukushima prefecture, Japan October 16, 2019. (Reuters)
Updated 16 October 2019

Japan allocates millions in aid for typhoon-hit regions

  • Japanese government will spend $6.5m to cover evacuees’ expenses
  • Rescue work in Nagano and Fukushima is gradually shifting to clean up

TOKYO: Japan's government said Wednesday it would set aside millions of dollars to help areas devastated by Typhoon Hagibis, which killed more than 70 people across the country.
Hagibis slammed into Japan on Saturday, unleashing fierce winds and unprecedented rain that triggered landslides and caused dozens of rivers to burst their banks.
By midday Wednesday, the government put the toll at 74, with more a dozen people still missing.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said his government would offer 710 million yen ($6.5 million) to help areas affected by the storm.
The money will come from some a 500 billion yen emergency reserve, he said.
Tokyo will also fast-track the disbursement of subsidies to more than 300 disaster-hit municipalities.
"The government will stand united to tackle the issue of supporting victims, so that they will be able to return to normal life as quickly as possible," Abe said.
As of Wednesday morning, more than 10,000 households were still suffering from electricity blackouts, while more than 110,000 households are without running water, top government spokesman Yoshihide Suga told reporters.
"Today, too, rescue workers are making their utmost efforts in search and rescue work," he said.
"Due to the heavy rains we've experienced, the level of water is rising in rivers and there are spots where the ground is getting muddy."
"We call on people to keep vigilant about landslides and floods," he added.
Television footage showed devastated residents returning to homes filled with brown mud, and rescuers searching a hillside for a family missing after a landslide.
The country's northeast was particularly hard hit by the typhoon -- with a death toll of 26 in Fukushima prefecture, the highest among the 36 of Japan's 47 prefectures that were affected.
Collapsed embankments were observed at around 80 locations along 55 rivers in the country, the infrastructure ministry said, as it continues to asses the extent of the damage.
Local trains have gradually resumed operation but some Shinkansen bullet trains were still suspended in the hard-hit Nagano and Niigata regions in central Japan.


India reports over 8,000 new coronavirus cases

Updated 31 May 2020

India reports over 8,000 new coronavirus cases

  • Confirmed infections have risen to 182,143, with 5,164 fatalities

NEW DELHI: India reported more than 8,000 new cases of the coronavirus in a single day, another record high that topped the deadliest week in the country.
Confirmed infections have risen to 182,143, with 5,164 fatalities, including 193 in the last 24 hours, the Health Ministry said Sunday.
Overall, more than 60 percent of the virus fatalities have been reported from only two states — Maharashtra, the financial hub, and Gujarat, the home state of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The new cases are largely concentrated in six Indian states, including the capital New Delhi.
Public health experts have criticized the Modi government’s handling of the outbreak. A joint statement by the Indian Public Health Association, Indian Association of Preventive and Social Medicine and Indian Association of Epidemiologists, which was sent to Modi’s office on May 25, said it was “unrealistic” to eliminate the virus at a time when “community transmission is already well-established.”
India has denied of any community transmission even though new cases have continued to mount significantly.
The health experts said that the infections were rising exponentially despite the “draconian lockdown,” which began March 25.
The restrictions have slowly been relaxed, with the government announcing Saturday a phased “Unlock 1” plan from June onwards that allows more economic activities. The restrictions in so-called containment zones — areas that have been isolated due to the outbreaks — will remain through June 30.
Modi, who addressed the nation through his monthly radio program on Sunday, said India was faring better than other countries.
India has a fatality rate of 2.8 percent.
There are concerns that the virus may be spreading through India’s villages as millions of jobless migrant workers return home from cities during the lockdown. Experts warn that the pandemic is yet to peak in India.