Japan Typhoon Death Toll Rises to 37

Posted September 5th, 2011 at 5:55 pm (UTC-5)
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The death toll from a strong typhoon that hit central and western Japan Saturday has risen to 37, while rescuers search for more than 50 people reported missing.

Authorities say the number of victims is set to rise after torrential rains brought by Typhoon Talas caused floods and landslides.

Numerous homes, buildings and bridges were destroyed, leaving whole communities stranded.

Tens of thousands of people were without electricity after two days of stormy weather, the strongest since 2004 when about 100 people were killed or went missing.

Meteorologists warned of continued heavy rains for another day or two.

The havoc caused by the typhoon is the first crisis to confront Japan's new prime minister, Yoshihiko Noda.

He told reporters Monday his government will do its best to save lives and find the missing.

Wakayama and Nara prefectures in western Japan were the hardest hit, with more than 650 millimeters of rain dumped in some areas.

Talas was downgraded to a tropical storm late Sunday as it moved off into the Sea of Japan, which Koreans call the East Sea.