18 October 2019

The landslide impact of Typhoon Hagibis in Japan

Posted by Dave Petley

The landslide impact of Typhoon Hagibis in Japan

The landslide impact of Typhoon Hagibis in Japan is slowly becoming apparent.  For example, the Japan Times has a nice article about landslides along the route of the 2020 Olympic cycling road race.  This area has suffered sever landslide impacts.  The article has a good Youtube video with some very nice images of the landslides and their impacts upon the road:-


I would imagine that the road will be repaired ahead of the Olympics, although this is uncertain at present.  It is of course worth noting though that the Olympic Games will be held in the typhoon season.

Meanwhile, The Mainichi has an article about a mountain railway in Hakone, Kanagawa Prefecture that has also been severely damaged by landslides:-

The amount of rainfall topped 1,000 millimeters in Hakone, which caused major disruptions to the tracks in at least 20 locations. The rain triggered landslides and washed away track ballast. It also swept away about 23 meters of train tracks between Miyanoshita and Kowakidani stations and fallen rocks covered the tracks near Ohiradai Tunnel between Ohiradai and Miyanoshita stations. The landslides also knocked down utility poles.

This image, from the same article, shows some of the damage:-

Landslide damage from typhoon Hagibis

Landslide damage from typhoon Hagibis. Image via The Mainichi.


Note the state of the track in the centre of the image – it has been left hanging in the air.

The Mainichi also has an analysis of the 77 people who died in Typhoon Hagibis.  They understood the circumstances of 64 of the fatalities, finding that of these 27 died at home and 17 on the road as a result of flooding and landslides.  Ten of the people who died at home lost their lives in landslides.  As is usual in Japan, the majority of the people who died in their homes were aged over 60.

Evacuating elderly populations at risk is challenging in any environment.  Rural areas in Japan often have a very high proportion of older people, meaning that the problem is particularly challenging there.