Japan – 2 Dead, Thousands Evacuated After Floods and Record Rainfall

Record rain has caused flooding and landslides in southern Japan. At least 2 people have died. Authorities have issued evacuation orders for over 800,000 people.

Flood rescues in Japan, 28 August 2019. Photo: Japan Ground Self Defense Force

Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) reported record hourly rainfall totals in Saga City and Shiroishi, both in Saga Prefecture. Saga City recorded 110mm of rain and Shiroishi, Kishima District, 109.5mm in a 1 hour period early on 28 August, 2019. Record 24 hour rainfall totals were also reported. In a 24 hour period to around 08:00 on 28 August, Saga City recorded 390mm of rain and Hirado in Nagasaki Prefecture 434.0mm.

The heavy rain triggered landslides and caused rivers to overflow. As of 28 August river in at least 10 locations were at red alert level (highest of 4 levels) including the Takahashi river in Takeo City, Saga and the Yamanoi and Otoarai rivers (part of the Chikugo River system) in Kurume City, Fukuoka Prefecture. By evening (local time) on 28 August, several rivers in Yamaguchi Prefecture had also reached red alert levels.

Japan’s Fire and Disaster Management Agency (FDMA) reported fatalities in Yame City, Fukuoka Prefecture and Takeo City, Saga Prefecture. Both victims died when their vehicles were swept away by flood water.

FDMA issued emergency evacuation orders to 870,619 people in Fukuoka (400,312), Nagasaki (38,486) and Saga (431,821) prefectures. Evacuation advisories (lower level) were also issued in Oita prefecture.

As of 28 August, there were around 5,500 people displaced and staying in 884 relief centres in Fukuoka (1,729), Saga (2,940), Nagasaki (497) and Oita (256). Emergency services have rescued over 20 people trapped in their homes in 7 separate incidents in Saga prefecture.

Roads and public transport systems have been inundated. FDMA said that flooding has damaged dozens of homes in Fukuoka, Saga and Nagasaki Prefectures as well as some in Miyagi prefecture.

The agency also reported that flooding had caused the leakage of toxic materials at a steel plant in Takeo City.

Personnel from Japan’s Ground Self Defense Force have been deployed to affected areas in Saga prefecture.

Around 400,000 people were advised to evacuate earlier this month after Storm Krosa made landfall in near Hiroshima in southern Japan on 15 August. Two people died as a result of strong winds. One person drowned when he was swept into a river in Kamigori, Hyogo Prefecture.

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