Updated: Japan – Major Floods in South After 50cm of Rain in 9 Hours

Update, 10 July 2017

Emergency crews continue to search for missing people after torrential rain of over 500 mm in 24 hours fell in parts of southern Japan on 05 July (see original report below).

Over 2,000 personnel from Japan’s Self-Defense Forces are working with firefighters, police and rescue workers in the city of Asakura, Fukuoka prefecture, which was one of the worst hit areas.

Japan’s FDMA reported on 10 July that the death toll now stands at 22, with 19 deaths in Fukuoka prefecture and 3 in Oita. At least 13 of the deaths occurred in the city of Asakura. Twenty-four people have been seriously injured.

Authorities report that one person is officially classified as missing. The Fukuoka government added that it was unable to contact 24 people.

Hundreds of homes have been damaged and as many as 85 homes completely destroyed: 78 in Fukuoka and 7 in Oita. About 2,000 people are still homeless in Fukuoka, forced to evacuate as a result of flooding or mudslides. Around 160 elderly people remain stranded by the flooding in a nursing home in a district of Asakura.

Fukuoka government said that over 100 roads and 18 bridges have been damaged.

The Japan Meteorological Agency has warned of more heavy rain in southwestern parts of the country.

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Original report, 06 July 2017

Parts of southern Japan were hit by flooding and landslides after heavy rain in the wake of Typhoon Nanmadol which swept through the area earlier this week.

Over 50 cm of rain fell in Asakura, Fukuoka prefecture, in a 9 hour period on Wednesday 05 July 2017.

Authorities said that over 440,000 people across the country were under urgent evacuation instructions. Most of the evacuations orders were for areas of Fukuoka prefecture.

Teams from Japan’s military and emergency services, including several helicopter crews, are scrambling to evacuate hundreds of people who remain trapped and assess the full damage of the flooding.

At least 1 fatality has been confirmed by authorities. Some media reports claim that at least 2 people have died and 18 people are missing.

In a press conference today (06 July) Yoshihide Suga, Japan’s Chief Cabinet Secretary, said that there are conflicting reports on the numbers of missing people and refused to confirm figures until further assessments had been carried out.

Fukuoka and Oita

Japan’s Fire and Disaster Management Agency (FDMA) said that the torrential rain in Fukuoka and Oita prefecture is unlike anything experienced before.

FDMA confirmed that a man had died in a landslide near Hita in Oita prefecture. Two other people were rescued from the landslide. In total, five people have suffered injuries in the two prefectures.

Dozens of houses in Fukuoka and Oita have been damaged, with at least 5 in Fukuoka and 1 in Oita completely destroyed.

Residents in one community in Asakura, Fukuoka, have been isolated after rivers in the area overflowed.

FDMA said that almost 400,000 people were under urgent evacuation instructions in Fukuoka, with 306,000 in Kurume, 54,000 in Asakura and 18,000 in nearby Chikuzen district.

Kurume avoided particularly heavy rainfall yesterday (around 10 mm), but has so far today recorded over 100 mm (as of 19:00 hrs local time, 06 July). However, river levels increased dramatically, prompting the evacuation orders.

Flood damage in Fukuoka prefecture, Japan, 06 July, 2017. Photo: Japan Ground Self Defence Force

Shimane and Hiroshima

Rain and flooding has also affected Shimane and Hiroshima prefectures. Local media reported that the body of a man was found in a river in Hiroshima and local police believe he was swept away as the river level rose during torrential rain.

As many as 50 families have been left isolated by flood waters and landslide damage in several parts of Shimane.

Over 200 homes have been damaged across the country as a result of severe weather over the last few days according to FDMA, including 51 in Niigata Prefecture.

Rivers

According to Japan’s Foundation of River and Basin Integrated Communications (FRICS), several rivers in Fukuoka and Oita were flowing above the danger mark, including the Chikugo, Yamakuni, Oita, Nanase and Hikoyama.  FRICS figures suggest that all river levels have since fallen to below the danger mark.

Rainfall

In Asakura 516 mm of rain fell was recorded for a 24-hour period on 05 July. In fact around 500 mm fell between 12:00 and 21:00 hrs on 05 July, with 106.0 mm of rain falling in just 1 hour between 16:00 and 17:00.

Hita in Oita prefecture recorded 336 mm of rain in 24 hours on 05 July.

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Flood Summary

Last updated: July 12, 2017
Event
Fukuoka and Oita, Japan, July 2017
Date
July 5 to July 8, 2017
Type
Flash flood, Landslide
Cause
Extreme rainfall

Locations

A - Asakura
B - Hita
C - Kurume
D - Chikuzen

Magnitude

Rainfall level
336 mm in 24 hours
Hita - July 5 to July 5, 2017
Rainfall level
516 mm in 24 hours
Asakura - July 5 to July 5, 2017

Damages

Fatalities
22 people
Fukuoka and Oita - July 5 to July 10, 2017
Japan’s FDMA reported on 10 July that the death toll now stands at 22, with 19 deaths in Fukuoka prefecture and 3 in Oita.

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