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Lionrock death toll at 17 as Japan braces for new typhoon

Firefighters search for missing victims after Typhoon Lionrock made landfall in Iwaizumi, Iwate prefecture on September 2, 2016 © JIJI PRESS/AFP / JIJI PRESS

Tokyo, Japan, Sep 4 – The death toll from Typhoon Lionrock has risen to 17 in Japan, with several people still missing, and officials said Sunday a new storm threatens the country’s southwest.

Two more deaths were confirmed Sunday from the major typhoon which hit northern Japan last week, said an official in the hard-hit prefecture of Iwate.

The death toll is now 17 including the two confirmed on the northern main island of Hokkaido.

Now a new typhoon is bearing down on the country’s main island of Kyushu in the southwest.

As of 4 pm (0700 GMT) Typhoon Namtheun was some 90 kilometres (56 miles) southwest of the city of Amakusa in western Kyushu, according to the Japan Meteorological Agency.

The new storm is slowly moving northward with gusts of up to 126 kilometres per hour (78 miles) and bringing heavy rain, the agency said, warning of high seas, landslides and floods.

Namtheun is expected to hit northern Kyushu early Monday around high tide, the agency warned.

Lionrock landed on Japan’s northern Pacific coast on Tuesday evening, dumping torrential rain over a wide area.

Overflowing rivers wreaked havoc, stranding many communities in the largely agricultural north.

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The northern town of Iwaizumi in Iwate was the hardest hit. Nine people were buried inside a old people’s home engulfed by a flooded river.

Before Lionrock, two typhoons had claimed at least two lives in Japan’s northeast.

In 2013 a powerful typhoon that triggered massive landslides on Oshima island killed 40 people, while 82 died after a typhoon hit Japan in 2011.

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