Flood­ing leaves dozens dead, miss­ing in Ja­pan

Search-and-res­cue op­er­a­tions un­der­way af­ter record rain­fall

Houston Chronicle Sunday - - NATION | WORLD - By Makiko Inoue and Hisako Ueno

TOKYO — Record tor­ren­tial rains across west­ern and cen­tral Ja­pan un­leashed flood­ing and land­slides in sev­eral res­i­den­tial ar­eas, killing dozens and trig­ger­ing weather warn­ings in four dis­tricts of the coun­try.

By Satur­day evening, at least 51 peo­ple were dead and 48 were miss­ing, ac­cord­ing to pub­lic broad­caster NHK. More than 1 mil­lion peo­ple in 18 dis­tricts had been or­dered to evac­u­ate their homes and 3.5 mil­lion had been urged to leave.

The Ja­pan Me­te­o­ro­log­i­cal Agency re­ported Satur­day that rain­fall in many of the af­fected ar­eas had reached record lev­els — with some ar­eas re­port­ing rain two or three times as high as the monthly aver­age for all of July over just five days.

“This is a record high rain­fall which we never ex­pe­ri­enced,” Prime Min­is­ter Shinzo Abe said in a Satur­day morn­ing min­is­ters’ meet­ing, urg­ing his Cab­i­net to take “ev­ery mea­sure to pre­vent the dis­as­ter from wors­en­ing by tak­ing ad­vance ac­tions.”

Some 48,000 emer­gency re­spon­ders from the po­lice, fire de­part­ments and de­fense forces are tak­ing part in the search-an­dres­cue op­er­a­tions, Chief Cab­i­net Sec­re­tary Yoshi­hide Suga said.

A man died af­ter fall­ing off a bridge into a river in the south­west­ern city of Hiroshima, and an­other died af­ter be­ing swept into a canal, NHK re­ported. An el­derly woman was found dead in her house af­ter a mud­slide swept through it.

While the rain­fall had less­ened in many ar­eas by Satur­day night, the na­tional weather ser­vice warned that flood­ing could con­tinue in some ar­eas in­clud­ing Gifu, Hiroshima, and Shi­mane. Parts of south­ern, west­ern and cen­tral Ja­pan were still brac­ing for more.

In Kurashiki City in Okayama pre­fec­ture, an area hit espe­cially hard by flood­ing, a nurs­ing home was in­un­dated, leav­ing some of the res­i­dents stranded, the pub­lic broad­caster re­ported.

A river­bank col­lapsed in the city, flood­ing much of the area and prompt­ing hun­dreds to take shel­ter on their rooftops where they awaited res­cue by boat and he­li­copter.

The na­tional pub­lic broad­caster warned Satur­day night that those un­der evac­u­a­tion or­ders should im­me­di­ately move to mu­nic­i­pal shel­ters, but for those un­able to leave, they ad­vised mov­ing to a higher level of the home.

Res­i­dents are res­cued by boat Satur­day in Kurashiki, Okayama pre­fec­ture, west­ern Ja­pan. Right, res­i­dents wait to be res­cued on top of a house sub­merged by flood­wa­ters. Tor­rents of rain­fall and flood­ing bat­tered a wide­spread area in south­west­ern Ja­pan on Satur­day, killing at least 51. Ky­odo News photos / As­so­ci­ated Press

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA

© PressReader. All rights reserved.