Heavy rain forces evacuation order for 800,000 in southwestern Japan

Photo by the Kyodo. Sketched by the Pan Pacific Agency.

KAGOSHIMA, Jul 3, 2019, Kyodo. Some 800,000 residents of three cities in Kagoshima Prefecture in southwestern Japan were instructed Wednesday to evacuate, as torrential rain raised the risk of floods and mudslides, reported the Kyodo.

As the Japan Meteorological Agency warned of downpours in southwestern and western Japan through the next day, eight other municipalities in Kagoshima Prefecture and neighboring Miyazaki Prefecture advised some 310,000 people to evacuate.

The three cities that issued evacuation orders were Kagoshima, Kirishima and Aira.

[Source: Japan Meteorological Agency]

The Kyushu region, encompassing Kagoshima and other parts of southwestern and western Japan, was forecast to get 80 millimeters of rain or more per hour, with some areas likely to receive a month of rainfall in 24 hours, according to the agency.

Holding an emergency press conference for the second straight day, the agency urged people to protect themselves, saying it might issue a special rain warning to Kumamoto and Kagoshima prefectures — and possibly other areas — if it deems precipitation is going to reach one of the highest levels in decades.

The same warning was issued when western Japan was pounded by torrential rain last July, with mudslides and floods leaving more than 200 people dead, mostly in Hiroshima, Okayama and Ehime prefectures.

“Please take action to protect your lives,” Prime Minister Shinzo Abe called on residents in affected areas during a Cabinet meeting, instructing ministers to further brace for disasters and fully respond to them.

In the 24 hours through 6 a.m. Thursday, the agency forecast up to 350 mm of rain in southern Kyushu, up to 300 mm in northern Kyushu, and up to 250 mm in the Shikoku region.

The Kinki region, covering Osaka, was forecast to get 150 mm of rain, while the Tokai region centered on Nagoya, was predicted to get 120 mm. The Chugoku region around Hiroshima, and the Hokuriku area facing the Sea of Japan, were also expected to see heavy rainfall, according to the agency.

It said a rainy front is expected to stay over the Japanese archipelago through Saturday, and could also drench eastern Japan.

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