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Homes evacuated as typhoon hits Japan
Updated: 2004-09-29 13:41

Typhoon Meari has landed on Japan's southern-most main island of Kyushu, forcing over 1,000 residents to evacuate as it unleashes heavy rains and strong winds over the southern and western parts of the country.

Cars are jammed on a road flooded by Typhoon Meari in Tsu, western Japan September 29, 2004. The typhoon landed on Japan's southwestern island of Kyushu on Wednesday, forcing thousand residents to evacuate as it unleashed heavy rains and strong winds over the southern and western parts of the country. [Reuters]

Meari, with winds of up to 108 kilometres per hour, is heading north-east at a speed of 30 kilometres an hour after landing on the west coast of Kyushu.

In the western prefecture of Mie, rains triggered a landslide and public broadcaster NHK reports several people may have been buried under it.

A businessman holding an umbrella struggles against rain and strong wind caused by Typhoon Meari, in Fukuoka, Japanese southwestern island of Kyushu September 29, 2004. [Reuters]

Television footage shows high waves breaking on shorelines and palm trees bending violently in the wind.

Ferries and flights to the region have been cancelled and Kyodo news agency reports that more than 1,000 people have been evacuated from their homes.

Meari, which means "echo" in Korean, has yet to claim any casualties, but at least 45 people have been killed by seven typhoons that have hit Japan this year.

The weather agency says that the typhoon is expected to weaken and be downgraded to a tropical depression by Friday afternoon.

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