Continuous downpours flood cities in southern Japan

Continuous downpours flood cities in southern Japan
Continuous downpours flood cities in southern Japan

Heavy rains hit much of Japan on Sunday, flooding roads and buildings in the western part of the country, while three people died in a landslide in central Nagano Prefecture.

As of Sunday morning, the rain has stopped over most of Kyushu, although Tokyo and other parts of the country have experienced heavy rainfall.

In Takeo, a city in Saga Prefecture in Kyushu, entire areas were flooded, and rescuers in wetsuits were pulling inflatable boats and inspecting the damage. Locals made their way through the streets knee-deep in water.

“I was really shocked by the flooding. I also survived the 2016 Kumamoto earthquake, but it made a very different impression on me,” said Nozomi Okamoto, 22, a resident.

As of 12 noon local time (0300GMT), Takeo and surrounding cities still had a Level 4 evacuation warning, the second highest warning, for 18,380 households.

Nearly two million people have been called upon to evacuate their homes due to heavy rains in parts of Japan.

A number of prefectures, including Fukuoka and Hiroshima, have issued high-level rain warnings.

One woman died and her husband and daughter went missing after a landslide destroyed two houses in Nagasaki Prefecture.

More than 150 military personnel, police officers and firefighters have been deployed to assist with rescue operations in the area.

"They are looking carefully for the missing residents while fearing further landslides as heavy rains continue," a local official said.

The west of the country has suffered the most, but heavy rainfalls are expected across the country in the coming days.

In Saga Prefecture on Saturday, a hospital evacuated patients to upper floors after the nearby Rokkaku River overflowed and flooded a building, Kyodo News reported, citing local authorities.

In total, more than 1.8 million people in seven prefectures received warnings of optional evacuation, according to the Japanese broadcaster NHK.

Yushi Adachi, a spokesman for the Japan Meteorological Agency, called the current rainfall "unprecedented."

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