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Typhoon Slams Into Japan As Quake Rock East Russia

Turned over bicycles lay on the ground as a strong wind from a powerful typhoon blew at Miyazaki city in Japan's southern island of Kyushu 02 August 2007. Typhoon Usagi closed in on Japan, injuring three people, disrupting air and land traffic and cutting power to 8,000 homes. Photo courtesy AFP.
by Miwa Suzuki
Tokyo (AFP) Aug 02, 2007
A powerful typhoon slammed into southern Japan Thursday, injuring three people, disrupting air and land traffic and cutting power to thousands of houses. Packing winds of up to 126 kilometres (79 miles) an hour and bringing heavy rains, typhoon Usagi was moving north over Kyushu island after landing shortly before 6:00 pm (0900 GMT) from the Pacific, the meteorological agency said. The storm system, 160 kilometres across, was expected to veer into the Sea of Japan (East Sea) during the night and may dissipate there, the agency said.

Three people were so far injured in the storm, which comes just two weeks after Japan was hit by a killer typhoon.

"A gust suddenly slammed a door shut, chopping off the left index finger of a 49-year-old woman," said Nobuyoshi Namikawa, a crisis management official with the Miyazaki prefectural government on Kyushu.

A 52-year-old carpenter broke his right wrist as he fell from the roof of a house under construction while a 42-year-old man suffered head wounds when he fell three metres (10 feet) from the roof of his house, the official said.

"We are saying to ourselves, 'Again?'," Namikawa said.

About two weeks ago, three people were killed in Typhoon Man-yi, one of the most powerful typhoons to hit Japan in decades. A fourth person remains unaccounted for.

"The typhoon isn't as big as the previous one but it's strong. As it is compact, we have alerted residents to be careful about gusts and rain, which can intensify suddenly as the typhoon approaches," he said.

Kyushu Electric Power said 8,000 houses were without power on Thursday.

Nearly 500 people evacuated their homes voluntarily, according to public broadcaster NHK.

"I live alone and am feeble. It's safer if I stay here," an elderly woman told the network at a shelter in Kagoshima prefecture on Kyushu.

Television footage showed big waves lashing the island's coasts, fallen signboards and a heap of bicycles blown together by violent winds.

The storm was expected to veer toward the country's most populous island of Honshu later in the week.

Usagi -- which means rabbit in Japanese -- was moving northwest at 25 kilometres per hour late Thursday while weakening slightly.

Airlines had cancelled some 240 domestic flights, affecting more than 22,000 passengers, according to the NHK. Railway companies said train services were partially suspended in Kyushu.

earlier related report
Earthquakes kill two in eastern Russia
Vladivostok (AFP) Russia, Aug 2 - Two powerful earthquakes hit the island of Sakhalin in the Russian Far East on Thursday killing at least two people and cutting power supplies to a town of 50,000, officials said.

Russian authorities declared a state of emergency in the western part of the energy-rich island as aftershocks continued to shake the region, where buildings also suffered extensive damage.

The first earthquake, which measured 6.7 on the Richter scale and struck off the west coast of Sakhalin, prompted a tsunami warning in Japan but triggered only small waves on the Japanese coast.

The worst-hit population centre in Sakhalin was Nevelsk, a town of 50,000 people. Thousands of residents were evacuated and officials said 400 tents were to be sent to the town on Thursday.

"Residential homes and factories have been damaged, the power supply has been cut. The city's cultural centre was partly destroyed. Dead and injured have been found in the ruins," Vladimir Pak, the town's mayor, told AFP.

Two people died in the town and 10 were injured, officials said.

"There are quite a few homes that are beyond repair ... The damage to the inhabitants of the town and of the entire Sakhalin region is very substantial," said the region's deputy governor Sergei Sheredekin.

The second earthquake struck almost three hours after the first and measured 6.1 on the Richter scale, and was followed by a series of powerful aftershocks, Russian officials said.

Strong earthquakes are common around the island of Sakhalin, which is located seven time zones east of Moscow and only a few dozen kilometres (miles) from Japanese shores.

Damage is usually limited because the area is sparsely populated.

Shortly after the first earthquake struck, authorities in Japan issued a warning that a small tsunami could hit the coast of the northern island of Hokkaido, where the quake was felt.

In Japan, officials on Hokkaido said they observed tsunami waves of about 20 centimetres (eight inches). Minutes after the meteorological agency lifted its warning, the second quake hit.

It was not immediately clear whether the second quake caused seismic waves.

Source: Agence France-Presse

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Philippine Volcano Erupts As Nation Prays For Drought Breaking Rain
Manila (AFP) July 31, 2007
A volcano erupted in the eastern Philippines on Tuesday, raining ash on two towns, but there were no reports of casualties, volcanologists said. No immediate evacuation of nearby communities was necessary unless the apparently short-term eruption of Bulusan volcano worsens, Julio Sabit of the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology told AFP. Located on the southeastern tip of the main island of Luzon, the 1,559-meter (5,145-foot) Bulusan erupted at about 9:30 am (0130 GMT) with a burst of ash that shot up six kilometers (3.7 miles) above the crater, Sabit said.

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