TOKYO (Reuters) – Nine people were killed when floods inundated an old people’s home in Japan, police said on Wednesday, taking the death toll from a typhoon battering northern parts of the country to at least 11.
Police found nine bodies on Wednesday in the nursing home in the town of Iwaizumi, in Iwate Prefecture in the north of Japan’s main island of Honshu, but it was not clear when their home was flooded.
It was also not clear why people there had not been taken to safety before the storm struck. The nursing home is located near a river and was partially buried in mud and debris when the river overflowed its banks.
“The area is in a state of chaos. We are not sure what preparations the facility had taken,” said a prefectural government official who asked not to be identified because he was not authorized to speak to the media.
The town issued evacuation preparation information on Tuesday morning, which is to inform elderly or disabled people who take time to evacuate. That, however, was not as strong as an evacuation warning, according to another prefecture official.
More than 1,000 other people were forced from their homes by the flooding brought by Typhoon Lionrock.
The body of a man was also found near a river in Iwaizumi and a dead woman was found in Kuji city, police said.
Television pictures showed flooded rivers with cars and homes partly submerged, while rescuers picked up stranded people by helicopter.
Several people were also missing on the northern island of Hokkaido, police said.
Iwate, the worst-hit prefecture, was devastated by a massive earthquake and tsunami in March 2011.
(Reporting by Kaori Kaneko; Editing by Robert Birsel and Paul Tait)