Typhoon Haishen: Japan escapes worst as storm barrels towards South Korea

South Korea is bracing for the arrival of Typhoon Haishen, after the powerful storm battered Japan’s southern islands but appeared to pass through without major damage or casualties.

The storm, carrying top sustained winds of up to 144 km/h (90 mph), was headed north toward South Korea’s second largest city of Busan, the country’s weather agency said.

High winds have already cut power to almost 5,000 households in the southern tip of the Korean peninsula, including the resort island of Jeju, which has reported more than 473mm (19 inches) of rainfall since Saturday.

Officials have evacuated almost 1,000 people, while more than 300 flights across 10 airports, including Jeju international airport, have been cancelled. Entries to national parks and some national train services have been suspended, the country’s safety ministry added.

In Japan, around 440,000 homes in the south-western Kyushu region remained without power on Monday morning after the storm passed through, public broadcaster NHK reported.

It added that 32 people were injured, including a woman who fell down a flight of stairs in the dark and four people who sustained cuts after the glass windows of an evacuation centre were blown in.

Almost 2 million people had been ordered to evacuate the region, which was still recovering from heavy rains and flooding in July that killed 83 people.

Airlines had cancelled more than 500 flights departing from Okinawa and southern Japan, NHK said. Bullet train services in southern and western Japan were suspended, it said.

Japan’s coastguard on Saturday suspended for a second day its search for crew missing from a ship that capsized in the East China Sea last week with a cargo of cattle.

Typhoon Haishen comes just days after Typhoon Maysak hit the Korean peninsula, leaving at least two dead and thousands without power.

Haishen is also expected to draw near North Korea’s port city of Chongjin late Monday.

North Korea’s agriculture sector is particularly vulnerable to severe weather, and this summer’s storms and floods have raised concerns over the country’s tenuous food situation.

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un on Saturday toured coastal areas hit by Maysak, and ordered party members to join the recovery effort.

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