Heavy Rains in Japan (Tokyo): More than a million people have been asked to seek shelter as torrential rains in western Japan on Saturday triggered floods and landslides, leaving at least one dead and two missings.
Authorities in the northern part of Hiroshima and Kyushu issued an unprecedented warning as the weather agency said it was raining like never before in the region.
According to a non-compulsory alert, nearly 1.4 million residents were asked to leave their homes immediately, Public Broadcaster NHK reported.
TV footage showed rescuers pulling residents out of the sinking streets in a lifeboat in the town of Kurume in Fukuoka, but mud began to overflow in a neighboring saga prefecture.
A 59-year-old woman was killed and two of her family members were missing when landslides broke and two houses were destroyed in Ungen, Nagasaki Prefecture, a local official said.
“More than 150 soldiers, police, and firefighters were dispatched to the scene for rescue operations,” Takumi Kumasaki told AFP.
“They are carefully searching for missing residents as more mudslides continue as heavy rain continues.”
It is expected to rain for several days in large parts of the country.
Scientists say climate change will increase the risk of heavy rains in Japan and elsewhere because warmer climates contain more water.
“Heavy rains were recorded like never before,” Meteorological Agency official Yushi Adachi told reporters in Tokyo.
“There is already a possibility of some kind of catastrophe,” Adachi said. “Maximum warning is required even in areas where landslides and floods are generally not high.”
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A deadly landslide in central resort town Atomic has killed at least 23 people and left four missing due to heavy rains last month.
And in 2018, more than 200 people were killed when floods inundated western Japan during the country’s annual monsoon.