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Typhoon heads for Korea

27 August 2012, 14:14

Tokyo - One of the most powerful typhoons in decades churned towards the Korean peninsula on Monday after lashing Japan's Okinawa with heavy rains and wind, leaving at least five injured.

Typhoon Bolaven hit the southern Japanese island chain on Sunday, packing winds of up to 252km/h, the Japanese meteorological agency said.

Five people were injured with about 550 others forced to evacuate in the wake of the typhoon, one of the strongest since the weather agency started keeping records six decades ago.

Residents of the Okinawan capital Naha were advised to stay indoors as public broadcaster NHK showed footage of deserted streets lined with trees felled by strong winds.

As of 11:00 local time, the typhoon was about 300km north of Naha, moving north at a speed of 40km with gusts of up to 216km/h, the agency said.

Traffic paralysed

The storm was expected to pass near South Korea's southern island of Jeju early on Tuesday before moving towards the Korean peninsula, the weather agency said.

Traffic in Okinawa remained paralysed on Monday, with all flights to and from Naha airport and ships linking the main island with smaller islands in the chain cancelled.

"But if the weather permits, airlines may be able to resume flights in the afternoon," an airport official said.

On Sunday, roads and bus services were closed on the island while an elevated rail link in Naha city had also been shut down, news reports said.

About 17 500 homes in Okinawa and 58 300 homes in Kagoshima prefecture, just south of the Japanese mainland, were hit by blackouts, according to local governments.



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