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Typhoon Faxai stranded 17,000 at Tokyo airport

China Daily | Updated: 2019-09-11 07:39

TOKYO - Nearly 17,000 passengers were stranded overnight at Tokyo's Narita Airport, an official said on Tuesday, after it took a direct hit from Typhoon Faxai. The storm caused transport chaos throughout the Japanese capital.

The powerful typhoon caused more than 100 flights to be scrapped and road and rail links to the airport were also badly affected, leaving many with no transport options to the city - 70 kilometers to the west.

Airport spokesman Kei Miyahara said a total of 16,900 people were stuck at the airport at midnight.

"Passengers are now beginning to go home or to their final destinations as buses and trains have resumed operations," Miyahara said early on Tuesday.

Narita Airport, located in Chiba to the east of Tokyo, was right in the line of fire of Typhoon Faxai, which brought winds of up to 207 km/h.

Suburban trains throughout the huge Tokyo metropolitan area were not reopened until 8 am on Monday as officials checked for debris and damage. This sparked pandemonium during the notoriously busy morning commute.

The chaos came as Japan is preparing to host the Rugby World Cup later this month and with the 2020 Tokyo Olympics just around the corner.

There was "minor" disruption to some teams' schedules, admitted a Rugby World Cup spokesman, with Australia's arrival delayed and the England team stuck for hours at the airport.

They passed the time in a particularly English way by playing cricket.

The airport said it delivered 2,000 bottles of water, 19,000 bags of crackers and 18,000 bed rolls to stranded passengers.

"We delivered information in English and Japanese on digital signs, and made announcements in four languages" including Chinese and Korean, said Miyahara.

However, there was mass frustration and passengers complained about a lack of information and long queues for taxis.

The airport operator will review their experiences and draw lessons later, Miyahara said.

Since Faxai made landfall near Tokyo on Monday morning, it left at least three people dead in its wake and around 40 others injured as it battered the capital and surrounding areas on its way northward to the Pacific.

Around 930,000 households in the prefectures of Chiba and Kanagawa were temporarily left without power, according to Tokyo Electric Power Company, while the Japan Atomic Energy Agency said a disused cooling tower at a facility in Ibaraki Prefecture collapsed in the morning, although no radioactive materials were dispersed.

In addition, Japan's nuclear watchdog said that seven monitoring posts in Chiba Prefecture had not sent data regarding radiation levels, with the malfunction occurring since early Monday morning.

The Nuclear Regulation Authority confirmed, however, that alternative monitoring posts had not detected any change in the levels of radiation.

Afp - Xinhua

Typhoon Faxai stranded 17,000 at Tokyo airport

(China Daily 09/11/2019 page11)

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