Several dead, missing in Japan as heavy rain causes floods

WION Web Team Tokyo, Japan Jul 05, 2020, 04.12 PM(IST)

Floods in Japan Photograph:( AFP )

Story highlights

Japan is currently in its rainy season, which often causes floods and landslides and prompts local authorities to issue evacuation orders.

About 34 people are feared or confirmed dead -- including 14 at a nursing home -- after torrential rain in Japan triggered massive floods and mudslides. Rescuers have been searching for 14 people missing after floods hit the Kumamoto region on the southwestern island of Kyushu.

Japan is currently in its rainy season, which often causes floods and landslides and prompts local authorities to issue evacuation orders.

The regional government confirmed 18 people had died, while another 16 were in a critical state.

Fourteen of the victims were at a nursing home that was inundated when local rivers broke their banks. Emergency services rescued 50 people from the facility.

Also read | 14 feared dead at flooded nursing home in Japan

More than 2,00,000 people have been urged to evacuate as authorities requested those in emergency shelters to wash their hands, wear masks and maintain social distance to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

At a cabinet-level meeting in Tokyo on the disaster, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe pledged to offer financial support, while warning residents in Kumamoto to brace for more rain.

Heavy rain is expected in the region through Monday, Abe added. He also warned residents to monitor news for further risks associated with flooding and landslides.

Communities along the Kuma River, which passes through Hitoyoshi, have been hit hard by the floodwaters.

Although the rain had eased in Kumamoto by Sunday morning, collapsed bridges and blocked roads due to flooding and mudslides have left many isolated in the region.

A large "SOS" sign was created on the grounds of what used to be an elementary school in Yatsushiro city, where about 10 people waved white towels at rescue and media helicopters.

Rescue workers and troops from the Self-Defense Forces used boats and helicopters to reach those stranded.

(with inputs from AFP)