Image: Japanese city flooded by Typhoon Tokage.
Kyodo via Reuters
Homes and businesses in Maizuru, Japan, were flooded Thursday when the Yura River, swollen by rain from Typhoon Tokage, broke its banks.
updated 10/22/2004 2:08:37 PM ET 2004-10-22T18:08:37

Rescue workers digging through sludge from mudslides and flooded rice paddies in western Japan recovered 14 more bodies Friday, raising the toll from the nation’s deadliest typhoon in more than a decade to 77. Fourteen people remained missing.

Typhoon Tokage ripped through western Japan earlier this week with high waves, triggering mudslides, demolishing homes and flooding dozens of communities before losing power and disappearing over the Pacific Ocean.

Rescue workers combed the sea and flooded towns for the missing, who were feared washed away.

As government officials assessed the financial damage done to homes, crops and businesses, Prime Minister Junichiro Koizumi said he was ready to allocate public funds to cover repairs if necessary.

“If an extra budget is absolutely needed, we will have to think about it,” Koizumi said, according to Kyodo News. He said he would decide after reviewing an investigative report submitted by the government.

Billions in losses
Monetary damage from typhoons and other natural disasters this year topped an estimated $6.7 billion by mid-October, the Finance Ministry said.

The storms have destroyed so much of the domestic lettuce harvest that the vegetable was being sold on the wholesale market Friday for eight times the price it received at the beginning of October, public broadcaster NHK reported.

Image: People stranded at their home after Typhoon Tokage swept the area.
Kyodo via AP
Stranded residents in Toyooka, in western Japan, wait to be rescued on Thursday after Typhoon Tokage unleashed flash floods in the area.

The confirmed death toll rose to 77 and the number of injured to 294, the National Police Agency said. The victims found Friday included a 30-year-old policeman who went missing after going outside in the storm to check the damage in his Kyoto neighborhood.

Nationwide, more than 23,210 homes were flooded and hundreds of others ripped apart or buried, the Fire and Disaster Management Agency said. Thousands of people across the country stayed at temporary shelters, officials said.

Thousands in shelters
“We extend condolences to the victims of the typhoon, while praying for the safety of those still missing,” Chief Cabinet Secretary Hiroyuki Hosoda said Friday.

The government set up a task force to support the rescue and cleanup operation, and disaster and land ministers will visit Kyoto and Hyogo, among the hardest-hit areas, later Friday to observe the damage, Hosoda said.

Tokage, which means lizard in Japanese, was the deadliest storm in Japan since September 1988, when 84 people died in a nearly continuous two-week spell of typhoons, said Fire and Disaster Management Agency spokesman Yoshikazu Nishiwaki.

Japan was still recovering from Typhoon Ma-on, which killed six people earlier this month, when Tokage hit. The country suffered 22 deaths from Typhoon Meari in late September.

This year, about 220 people have been killed or gone missing in the storms. That is the largest casualty toll since 1983.

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