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Historic Rainfall Causes Deaths, and Hundreds of Thousands Evacuated

“With this record-breaking rainfall in Kyushu, there are many areas which could have landslides. We would like to call on citizens to evacuate the area while it’s still light,” said JMA’s Masahiro Takemura.

Arielle Busetto

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An uncharacteristic heavy rain has been battering regions of Southern Kyushu in Japan since August 10.

The rain continued into the weekend of August 13, with no signs of subsiding as of August 16.

According to NHK’s local broadcast, six people have been confirmed dead and eight people have been confirmed injured. There are others whose whereabouts have still not been confirmed. To date, damage to property has been estimated to include more than 4100 homes over 14 prefectures.

As of the morning of August 16, a non-compulsory evacuation warning was issued to 1.4 million people, according to the Fire and Disaster Management Agency. Emergency measures were initiated in seventeen prefectures.

Particularly dire conditions were reported in Nagano, Hiroshima, Ehime, Saga, Nagasaki, Kumamoto, Fukuoka and Oita Prefectures, where search efforts for the stranded and missing are underway.  

As of the evening of August 16, the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) reported that the rain was expected to continue through August 17, with the rainfall gradually moving North.

Landslide alerts have been issued for Saga and Fukuoka prefectures in Kyushu, Gifu, Shizuoka, Nagano and Yamanashi prefectures in the Central Honshu region, and for Chiba and Fukushima prefectures in the Kanto and Northeast Japan regions.

“With this record-breaking rainfall in Kyushu, there are many [nearby] areas such as Hiroshima which could have landslides. We would like to call on citizens to evacuate the area while it’s still light,” said JMA’s Masahiro Takemura.

In less than a week, Saga Prefecture alone saw four times the average monthly rainfall for August, and half of the total average rainfall for an entire year.

Roads affected by the rain in Southern Japan.
An evacuation center in Kyushu.

Author: Arielle Busetto

Arielle Busetto is a journalist at JAPAN Forward. She has finished the intensive Japanese course of the Inter University Center For Advanced Japanese Studies in Yokohama in summer 2018, and is originally from Siena, Italy.

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