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Natural disasters

Post-typhoon blackout near Tokyo drags on into fourth day

330,000 homes in Chiba remain affected amid sweltering heat

Thousands of households in Chiba Prefecture remain without running water.   © Kyodo

CHIBA (Kyodo) -- Hundreds of thousands of households near Tokyo entered their fourth day without electricity on Thursday amid sweltering heat and no relief in sight, as a utility struggled to recover power systems damaged by Typhoon Faxai.

The number of households in Chiba Prefecture affected by the outage stood at approximately 330,000 around 2 p.m., down from more than 380,000 Wednesday evening. But the figure was expected to remain at around 300,000 by the end of the day, according to Tokyo Electric Power Company Holdings Inc.

The utility had sought to restore power across the prefecture sometime on Wednesday but said it had found power poles and power lines that were more badly damaged than initially expected, and recovery efforts are being hindered by downed trees.

"We would like TEPCO to make further efforts" in resolving the power outage and sharing a more accurate outlook, said Chiba Gov. Kensaku Morita.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga indicated the government has also taken issue with TEPCO's recovery efforts, saying, "We need to strictly review the power cuts and recovery processes and make corrections."

Some 20,000 households continued to have no running water within the prefecture as maximum temperatures repeatedly eclipsed 30 C after the typhoon passed.

"We can't take a bath or use air conditioning, so we struggle to beat the heat," said 36-year-old Akina Shinoda in Ichihara.

Among the many people who lined up for water at the Ichihara city office was 72-year-old Michiko Okuma, who secured 24 500-milliliter bottles of water for her family.

"I don't know how long the water stoppage will continue, but I hope these will sustain us for the next four or five days," she said.

Meanwhile, the city of Futtsu, which is also experiencing power and water outages in some areas, said it mistakenly gave out about 1,800 bottles of waters that expired last year after officials failed to check them thoroughly. It has urged people not to drink them.

Faxai made landfall near the city of Chiba early Monday, becoming one of the strongest recorded typhoons to hit the Kanto region of eastern Japan.

It disrupted major transport networks in the metropolitan area and killed at least three people while knocking over two power line towers and a number of utility poles in Chiba Prefecture.

About 935,000 households were left without electricity at one point in wide areas including the prefectures of Chiba, Ibaraki, Kanagawa, Shizuoka, and Tokyo.

Some schools in areas affected by the power outage remain closed, and some of East Japan Railway Co.'s services on the Uchibo and Sotobo lines were canceled throughout Thursday.

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