Japan – 1 Million Ordered to Evacuate After Torrential Rain in Kyushu

Nearly 1 million people are under evacuation orders on the southern island of Kyushu in Japan after days of torrential rain threatened to trigger flooding and landslides.

According to figures from the country’s Fire and Disaster Management Agency (FDMA), as of 03 July, 2019, there were 925,435 people under evacuation order in Kagoshima prefecture and 27,227 in Miyazaki Prefecture. Many more are under the lower level evacuation advisory.

Japan’s Meteorological Agency (JMA) said over 1,000mm of rain has fallen in parts of Kyushu island since 28 June, with heavy rain likely to continue.

According to JMA’ s figures, 10 locations in the prefectures of Miyazaki, Kagoshima, Kumamoto recorded more than 230 mm of rain in 24 hours to 01 July, 2019, including Ebino City in Miyazaki Prefecture, which saw 381 mm of rain. The next day Satsumasendai in Kagoshima prefecture recorded 313.5 mm of rain in 24 hours.

The rain has resulted in rising rivers and, as of 03 July, rivers in Miyazaki and Kagoshima were above danger level in 8 locations.

After a ministerial meeting, Prime Minister Abe said in a statement of 03 July that, “the seasonal rain front remains stationary and is bringing record-high precipitation in Kyushu and surrounding areas. We have seen damages to housing. It is expected to have heavy rain in Kyushu and its surrounding areas which may surpass average precipitation of the whole month of July. There is a risk of landslide, rising of rivers, and flooding.

“Police, firefighters, Japanese Coast guard are on high alert and approximately 14,000 initial response personnel of the Self Defense Forces, mainly from the units based in the Kyushu region, are ready for rapid deployment. The government will maintain its utmost vigilance.

“We ask you to stay alert and follow the evacuation advisory to be issued by local governments to take necessary steps in advance in order to save lives.”

The heavy rain has already taken its toll. FDMA reported that 1 person died in a mudslide in Kagoshima city and one person was injured in Satsumasendai. Over 60 houses have been damaged or destroyed in Kumamoto and Kagoshima Prefectures.

July 2018 saw some of the worst flooding in Japan’s history, causing over 200 fatalities and US$9.5 billion in economic losses.

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