NATURAL DISASTER – More than a million Japanese were ordered to evacuate on Saturday after floods and landslides caused by record rainfall in the west of the country, leaving at least one dead and two missing.
Léa LUCAS with AFP –
Repeated deadly floods. This Saturday, August 14, landslides in western Japan caused the death of a 59-year-old woman as well as the disappearance of two members of her family in Unzen (Nagasaki prefecture), probably buried with their houses. More than a million people are called upon to evacuate the premises as a matter of urgency. The authorities of the department of Hiroshima and the north of the island of Kyushu have indeed issued the highest level of alert.
150 soldiers, police and firefighters deployed
Relief has started to shelter the 1.4 million people residing in the areas affected by this flood, using lifeboats, especially in the submerged streets of Kurume town (Fukuoka prefecture). ), as a muddy current begins to overflow in nearby Saga Prefecture.
“More than 150 soldiers, police and firefighters have been sent to take part in the relief operations”, said the manager, Takumi Kumasaki.
“They are looking for missing people, while monitoring possible landslides as heavy rains continue to fall,” he then clarified.
Unprecedented rainfall in the region
Unprecedented flooding in this region, according to the Japanese meteorological agency (JMA). “Unprecedented levels of precipitation have been recorded”, Yushi Adachi, a JMA official, said at a press conference in Tokyo. Intense rains are also expected to continue for several days over a large part of the Land of the Rising Sun.
Beginning of July, heavy rains had caused a devastating mudslide in the seaside resort of Atami, a hundred kilometers west of Tokyo, which had left 23 dead and four missing.
In 2020, floods in southwestern Japan also left more than 80 dead and missing, while in 2019 more than 200 people were killed in severe flooding in the west of the country.
Scientists say global climate change is causing these disasters to repeat, due to a warmer atmosphere retaining more water, increasing the risk and intensity of extreme precipitation.
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