As heavy snow blankets wide swathes of Japan, knocking out electricity to hundreds of households, the disaster management officials in Japan reported on Monday that at least 17 people have been confirmed deceased and more than 90 others have suffered injuries of varying degrees.
Strong winter fronts have been dumping heavy snow in the country’s northern regions since last week, stranding hundreds of vehicles on the roadways, holding up delivery services, and resulting in 11 fatalities by Saturday, according to Voice of America (VOA).
The country’s Fire and Disaster Management Agency reported that by Monday morning, 17 people had died and 93 people had been injured as a result of more snowfall over the Christmas holiday weekend.
Many of the deceased were found to have either fallen while clearing snow off roofs or to have been buried behind high snowdrifts.
In Nagai City, Yamagata prefecture, some 300 kilometers north of Tokyo, where snow piled up more than 80 centimeters on Saturday, a woman in her 70s was discovered dead trapped beneath a thick pile of rooftop snow that unexpectedly fell on her.
According to the report, three times as much snow fell in various areas of northeastern Japan as usual for the season.
The country’s northernmost main island’s electric power transmission tower was destroyed, according to the economics and industry ministry of Japan. According to reports, this left roughly 20,000 homes without electricity on Christmas morning, although later that day, power was restored to most locations.
Additionally, according to the ministry of transportation, scores of trains and aircraft were also canceled in northern Japan through Sunday; however, most operations have already been restarted.
Municipal administrations in the snow-covered regions issued statements regarding the occurrence and asked residents to exercise caution and avoid working alone when clearing snow.