A major airport that was cut off when a huge typhoon smashed through its sole access road was being evacuated yesterday, as Japan grappled with devastation caused by its most powerful storm in a quarter of a century.
Boats and buses were ferrying stranded passengers from Kansai International Airport — one of the country’s busiest — after thousands of people were forced to spend the night in the partially flooded facility.
At least ten people were killed, and hundreds more injured by Typhoon Jebi as it raked through the major manufacturing area around Osaka — Japan’s second city — wrecking infrastructure and destroying homes.
Winds up to 216km/h ripped off roofs, overturned trucks and swept a 2 500-ton tanker into a bridge leading to the airport, the region’s main international gateway and a national transport hub.
Multiple people were reported killed in Japan as Typhoon Jebi sliced across the west of the country.
The damage to the bridge left the artificial island temporarily cut off, stranding 3 000 travellers and additional staff overnight.
Runways were flooded as high waves washed into the facility on Tuesday, knocking out electricity and inundating buildings.
Yesterday, boats began ferrying people out of the airport, and buses began to run on one side of the damaged bridge after safety inspections.
“We don’t know how many hours we need to bring everyone out but we’re doing our best to finish it by the end of today,” Kansai airport spokesperson Yurino Sanada told AFP.
She could not confirm how many people had left the airport so far, and there was no indication when the facility, which runs over 400 flights a day, might reopen.
“We had a blackout so there was no air conditioning. It was hot,” a woman told public broadcaster NHK after being ferried to Kobe. — Al Jazeera