Homeless men denied shelter amid Typhoon Hagibis sparks outrage

Homeless men denied shelter amid Typhoon Hagibis sparks outrage
Photo: AP PHOTO/EUGENE HOSHIKO via The Telegraph

Japan is currently facing controversy after two men were denied refuge from Typhoon Hagibis.

Japan’s main island was battered by the strong winds and heavy rainfall that caused flooding in its main island on Saturday. Over 200 rivers reportedly overflowed with thousands of homes affected.

Local government has recorded a death toll of 53 while the Kyodo news agency reports that the death toll is already at 69. The government had urged its citizens to evacuate to shelters. Amid the raging storm, two men sought safety at a shelter in northern Tokyo’s Taito. The pair were then denied refuge after being told that shelters were only for residents of the ward according to a Taito spokesperson.

As the report sparked outrage, Japan’s prime minister Shinzo Abe has pledged to take action to prevent similar instances. Speaking to the parliament, Abe said that the men should have been accepted at the shelters.

“Shelters are supposed to be set up for the purpose of protecting the lives of affected people. It is desirable to accept all affected people in shelters,” the prime minister said. He then added that measures will be placed to prevent this from happening again.

Local media reports that one homeless man was found lifeless on Tuesday. His body was discovered along a flooded river in another area of Tokyo. Authorities believe that he lived near the river and died as flooding raged.

Over a thousand homeless people are recorded in Tokyo, as reported by The Guardian. The number accounts for a quarter of the country’s total homeless population.

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