More than 110,00 people are taking part in the search and rescue operations after the worst storm in decades struck Japan on Saturday.
The typhoon has killed at least 40 people, with 16 still missing. Typhoon Hagibis also caused the cancellation of three Rugby World Cup matches but Japan still managed to top their Pool A group after an extraordinary win against Scotland, entering the Rugby World Cup quarterfinals for the first time.
After the historic win again Scotland, Japan’s coach made a touching tribute to those affected. ‘Everyone who is suffering from the typhoon, this game was for all of you. The crowd was massive for us, and today was more than just a game.’ He said. The brave Blossoms face South Africa in their first knock-out match and have ‘more belief’ now despite surprisingly beating the Springboks four years ago, says coach Jamie Joseph.
Outside of the Yokohama stadium tragic scenes were unfolding. With 16 confirmed missing people, a total of 27,000 military troops and other rescue crews were deployed to operate major relief operations. They are currently prioritising finding those that have been trapped by landslides and flooding. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said that ‘the government will do its utmost’, promising to deploy more troops if needed.
By Sunday the storm had weakened and moved off land but has left behind a trail of catastrophic destruction. With an area the size of the United Kingdom being destroyed by the typhoon, it is clear to see that any rebuild task is going to be an enormous one. Typhoon Hagibis was not only an extremely large and destructive typhoon, but it also struck very late with Japan’s typical typhoon season being between July and September.
With around 92,000 households without power and 120,00 experiencing water outages, it is unsurprising that more than 1 million people were urged to leave their homes at the peak of the storms; however, it is thought that only 50,000 complied.
Typhoon Hagibis comes only a month after Typhoon Faxal caused damage to over 30,000 homes, most of which have not yet been repaired. With all this catastrophe hanging over the Rugby World Cup’s host nation it reminds us that some things are just so much bigger than ourselves and the game.