Japan hit by deadly tornado

Nine people have been killed and dozens injured after Japan was struck by a tornado that left the highest number of fatalities on record.

    Tornados are relatively rare in Japan

    The storm tore through the remote northern town of Saroma on Tuesday, knocking out electricity to hundreds of homes, police said.

     

    Local television showed a scene of devastation on the island of Hokkaido with a wide swath of collapsed buildings, badly damaged cars and utility poles strewn across streets.

     

    A total of 52 people - 45 construction workers and seven residents from damaged homes nearby - were taking shelter at a town gymnasium on Tuesday night, said Hirofumi Matsumura, Hokkaido prefectural government official.

     

    Twenty-five people were treated for injuries in hospital.

     

    Television reports

     

    Local television networks estimated that the tornado was one of the strongest to hit Japan since the second world war, with wind speeds of 70m per second.

     

    National broadcaster NHK quoted a local woman, Keiko Takeda, as saying that the skies suddenly darkened over the town and when she opened her window winds were swirling outside.

     

    "It was very strong, but it was over very quickly," she said.

     

    Other witnesses said there may have been two tornados and that after hitting the town they veered off into the surrounding hills.

     

    According to the Central Meteorological Agency, the worst tornado previously recorded in Japan was just two months ago, when three people were killed on the southern island of Kyushu.

    SOURCE: Agencies


    YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

    Interactive: How does your country vote at the UN?

    Interactive: How does your country vote at the UN?

    We visualised 1.2 million votes at the UN since 1946. What do you think are the biggest issues facing the world today?

    'We were forced out by the government soldiers'

    'We were forced out by the government soldiers'

    We dialled more than 35,000 random phone numbers to paint an accurate picture of displacement across South Sudan.

    Interactive: Plundering Cambodia's forests

    Interactive: Plundering Cambodia's forests

    Meet the man on a mission to take down Cambodia's timber tycoons and expose a rampant illegal cross-border trade.