KOSHIGAYA, Japan: Several dozen people were injured when a tornado ripped through parts of eastern Japan on Monday, tearing off roofs and uprooting buildings.

Footage aired by public broadcaster NHK showed a number of homes destroyed, upturned cars, schools with shattered windows and a warehouse that had been lifted from its foundations and hurled into other buildings in Koshigaya, north of Tokyo.

An AFP journalist in the city saw roof tiles scattered all over the streets, with locals outside inspecting their battered homes and emergency vehicles at the scene.

Residents were being prevented from re-entering the houses for fear of collapse.

At least 27 people were injured in the city alone, local police said, without elaborating on the severity of the injuries.

Jiji Press agency said most of the injured were members of a volleyball team at a local middle school.

NHK said a few dozen people were taken to hospital, all with minor injuries.

“We are preparing evacuation shelters, while also readying emergency supplies,” said an official of the fire department in Koshigaya.

The electricity supply was cut for some 30,000 households in Saitama prefecture, probably after lightning hit the area, according to utility Tokyo Electric Power which provides power in the area.