Tuesday, 12 November, 2019

Japan, hit by torrential rains, orders over one million to evacuate

A pedestrian walks through heavy rain in Kirishima Kagoshima Prefecture southwestern Japan Japan's Kagoshima city orders 600000 residents to evacuate after days of heavy rain
Patty Aguilar | 04 July, 2019, 00:56

One elderly woman was killed in a mudslide in Kagoshima, where the rain flooded dozens of homes.

An onslaught of heavy rain across the southwestern part of Japan has forced more than 1 million people to be evacuated amid fears of landslides and widespread flooding.

Evacuation orders were issued for 1.02 million residents of Kagoshima and Miyazaki prefectures at the southern tip of Kyushu, NHK said.

Members of the fire department monitor the water level of the Wada River in heavy rain Wednesday, July 3, 2019, in Kagoshima City, southwest Japan.

"The sound of the rain is so strong that it worries me", one evacuee told Kyodo News.

The southwestern Japan city specifically called on residents in areas close to cliffs, rivers and other risky areas to immediately flee to safer places, the Mainichi Shimbun reported.

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At 11:10 a.m., the city of Kirishima, also in Kagoshima Prefecture, switched from an evacuation advisory to an evacuation order, targeting 125,000 residents of 61,000 households.

"Please take action to protect your lives", Prime Minister Shinzo Abe called on residents in affected areas during a Cabinet meeting, instructing ministers to further brace for disasters and fully respond to them.

The evacuations orders come as Kyushu and nearby regions have struggled to absorb persistent heavy rains that began late last week.

The Japan Meteorological Agency has forecast rainfall of around 350 mm/m2 in southern Kyushu by Thursday morning, while some areas in the region could receive up to 80 mm per hour, reported Efe news. The agency said that it may issue an emergency warning, used for weather events that occur only once every several decades, if extremely intense rain continues for several hours in the same areas.

From early June to late July, Japan traditionally experiences a rainy "baiu" season, as humid air from the south converges with cooler, drier air from the north.

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