(NaturalNews) The Japanese people simply cannot catch a break, as yet another massive natural disaster has severely ravaged many portions of western and central Japan, and dumped heavy amounts of rain on areas in the northeast, including near the crippled Fukushima nuclear facility.
The equivalent of a category 4 hurricane in terms of its power and wind speeds, Typhoon Roke made landfall in southern Japan on Wed., Sept. 21, where it traveled up through central Japan, including Tokyo, before weakening slightly and grazing the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.
CBS News has reported that at least 200,000 Japanese households lost power after the storm, and a more recent report from the UK's Guardian says that at least 16 people are now reported to be dead or missing. Many areas of central Japan remain flooded. Transportation in Tokyo was suspended, and several other areas experienced severe landslides.
"The hotels in the vicinity are all booked up so I'm waiting for the bullet train to restart," said 60-year-old businessman Hiromu Harada, who works in Tokyo, to the Guardian. According to Kyodo news of Japan, as many as 5,000 stranded individuals slept inside Tokyo and Shizuoka bullet train stations overnight as a result of the storm.
Meanwhile, up at Fukushima, which is located roughly 100 miles-or-so north of Tokyo, officials at the crippled Fukushima nuclear facility are insisting that the storm did not cause any major damage to the plant. The only thing destroyed, they claim, was a security camera outside which just happens to be the same one that provides a continuous live feed of reactors 1 - 4, all of which either melted through or exploded back in March.
According to the Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) website, the live feed of the plant was suspended at 8:37 pm on Sept. 21, and was restored the next morning at 10:00 am. TEPCO officials added that contaminated water levels have been continuing to rise, but that plant operators are "watching the situation very closely to make sure that [the water] stays there" (http://www.tepco.co.jp/en/nu/f1-np/camera/in...).
Based on the series of disastrous events that have taken place thus far, 2011 is shaping up to be one of the most tumultuous periods of natural disasters, particularly in Japan. Earlier in the month, Typhoon Talas shredded through Japan as well which, according to CBS News, killed at least 90 people.