ibusinesslines.com September 20, 2018

Japan Flooding Forces More Than 1 Million to Flee; 2 Killed

08 July 2018, 05:54 | Erica Roy

People look at the swollen Kamo River in central Kyoto western Japan following heavy rain

People look at the swollen Kamo River in central Kyoto western Japan following heavy rain

In Kochi Prefecture in western Japan, more than 900 mm of rain fell over a 48 hour period, leading to prefectural officials to seek the assistance of the Ground Self Defense Force to help with search and rescue operations.

The Japan Meteorological Agency had issued emergency warnings about the potential for severe flooding and landslides, warnings only issued when it anticipates the sort of extreme conditions that occur just once or twice in 50 years.

Some 210,000 people were in areas subjected to evacuation orders, though only some of them usually show up at shelters, especially at night when people are advised to stay indoors. Although the JMA subsequently lifted the warnings in four of the prefectures, the agency cautioned that heavy downpours could again hit later on July 7 or 8 even in areas where rain had previously eased, and urged people across the country to take caution.

Intense rainfall triggered huge landslides and flash floods in Hiroshima, Okayama, Kyoto and other regions, while hampering rescue operations.

Hundreds have been injured and dozens of homes have been completely destroyed in the disastrous downpours.

The agency said that although a weather front had settled between western and eastern Japan, there was a risk that heavy rains would continue as warm air flowed towards the front. "I was scared, thinking what would become of me".

A vehicle was retrieved from a swollen river in the early hours of Friday morning, believed to be that of a woman in her 50s who went missing after leaving her home in Kyoto Prefecture.

In Ehime prefecture, a woman was found dead on the second floor of a home hit by a landslide, Kyodo said.

In Kasaoka in Okayama Prefecture, six workers were buried when a landslide crashed into their factory early Saturday morning, with one person confirmed dead.

Military water trucks were rushing to areas where water systems were no longer working, Okayama prefecture said. On Saturday, rescue workers transferred them to safety, by carrying them through swiftly flowing dark waters.

Transportation services have been severely disrupted since Thursday, the transport ministry said, with a number of Shinkansen bullet train services partially disrupted and major arterial highways partially closed. In Okayama Prefecture, nine people are unaccounted for.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe warned "the situation is extremely serious" and ordered his government to "make an all-out effort" to rescue those affected.

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