Published: Thu, July 04, 2019
Global News | By Blake Casey

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

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

According to reports, in the immediate evacuation zone there are 58 thousand houses, in which more than 1.24 million people live.

The same warning was issued when western Japan was pounded by torrential rain last July, with mudslides and floods leaving more than 200 people dead, mostly in Hiroshima, Okayama and Ehime prefectures.

One woman died earlier this week due to a landslide in Kagoshima city, according to government officials. Residents were asked to immediately take refuge in schools and municipal institutions located on higher ground.

Kagoshima, Kumamoto and Miyazaki prefectures faced the prospect of being lashed by more than 80 millimeters of heavy rain per hour through July 4, the JMA said.

At an evacuation centre in Kagoshima, elderly residents sat on the floor eating with their bedding and other belongings spread out around them.

"Disaster might occur suddenly", Aira said.

The country's Fire and Disaster Management Agency issued a directive for more than 1 million residents to evacuate to designated shelters in three southern prefectures.

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In the 24 hours through 6 a.m. Thursday, the agency forecast up to 350 mm of rain in southern Kyushu, up to 300 mm in northern Kyushu, and up to 250 mm in the Shikoku region.

Roughly half of Kyushu, the southernmost of Japan's main islands, is under a warning or advisory for risks of landslides and heavy rain, according to the Japan Meteorological Agency.

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

"Evacuate early without waiting for it", he urged.

"A major disaster could happen anywhere, any time", he said, adding that he had requested help from Japan's Self-Defence Forces.

As the Japan Meteorological Agency warned of downpours in southwestern and western Japan through the next day, eight other municipalities in Kagoshima Prefecture and neighboring Miyazaki Prefecture advised some 310,000 people to evacuate.

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