Huge floods hit Kumamoto of Japan

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Flood, Landslide

Desperate searches as dozens feared dead in Japan floods

KUMAMOTO – More torrential rain struck the Kyushu region on Monday (July 6), causing flooding and mudslides in areas other than Kumamoto Prefecture, where at least 49 people have been confirmed dead, with rescuers racing against the clock to save others still missing following the weekend’s deluge.

The weather agency issued its highest-level warning for heavy rain for parts of Fukuoka, Nagasaki and Saga prefectures, urging people to take all possible measures to protect their lives.

It also said residents in those areas should be on high alert through Tuesday morning. As of 6 p.m. Monday, more than 330,000 people from about 142,500 households were ordered to evacuate, according to a Kyodo News survey based on information provided by local authorities.

In Kumamoto, bad weather was preventing some rescue efforts, local officials said. “Because of the heavy rain, we were forced to cancel some emergency flights of helicopters over the disaster zone,” local disaster management official Tsubasa Miyamoto said.

A firefighter in Kagoshima said they used boats to rescue 11 people, but conditions were making it hard to reach others stranded. “Calls came from people telling us that they wanted to flee their home but they could not do it on their own,” he said.
“Some roads are submerged and you cannot drive through them.”
In Kumamoto, Miyazaki and Kagoshima prefectures, about 254,000 residents were instructed to evacuate as of early Monday afternoon.

Of the 49 fatalities in flood-ravaged Kumamoto, 14 were from the Senjuen nursing home near the Kuma River, which overran its banks at 11 locations and broke one levee, according to the prefectural government.

More people remain missing or are feared dead. About 6,100 homes along the river were submerged, and roughly 1,060 hectares of land were flooded, the infrastructure ministry said, adding that 11 bridges were destroyed.

A number of communities are isolated due to severed roads, among other damage, with more than 80 schools being closed in Kumamoto Prefecture.

Kyushu Electric Power Co. said about 4,000 homes in the prefecture continued to be without electricity as of Monday afternoon.

Some 1,500 people had taken shelter at 86 evacuation centers across the prefecture as of Sunday afternoon as the downpour caused mudslides and floods, severing roads and leaving many houses without water or power.

Source: The Japantimes. JUL 6, 2020. Desperate searches as dozens feared dead in Japan floods.