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August 11, 2009

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Deadly Etau rips into Japan

TYPHOON Etau slammed into Japan's west coast yesterday, dumping heavy rain that triggered floods and landslides that left at least 13 people dead and another 10 missing.

Etau killed 12 people in Hyogo prefecture, around 500 kilometers west of Tokyo, police official Shigekazu Kamenobu said.

He said many were caught in raging waters.

"At least one man was swept away in a river while he was in a car. His body was later found inside the vehicle," Kamenobu said.

In Okayama prefecture, next to Hyogo, a woman was found dead in her house, which was destroyed by a landslide, police official Wataru Yamamoto said.

Police said about 2,200 people were evacuated from their homes in Hyogo and were staying at public schools. Some 500 houses were flooded.

TV footage showed houses that had been destroyed by landslides and heavily damaged by flooding, with some residents working to clear mud and water from their homes with shovels and buckets.

Japan's Meteorological Agency warned of heavy precipitation and landslides in eastern Japan as Etau heads north. The agency forecast the typhoon would skim just east of heavily populated Tokyo this afternoon.

Some residents in the capital put precautionary sandbags around their homes yesterday evening.

Commuter trains throughout the region were delayed or canceled by the day's heavy rain and strong winds.

Police said at least two people were missing in Tokushima, on the western island of Shikoku.

Public broadcaster NHK said at least 10 people are missing.


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