Disasters & Accidents

Eastern Japan on high alert as torrential rains kill at least 1

Tokyo, Jun 3 (EFE).- Eastern Japan remained on high alert on Saturday even as heavy rains lashing the region over the past two days have killed at least one person, while around a million have been urged to evacuate by the authorities.

Japanese weather authorities have warned that the downpour, which has notched up record rain figures in several regions, would continue over the weekend, with a major alert in place on Saturday for the Tokyo, Kanagawa, Shizuoka, Chiba, Ibaraki prefectures and southeastern parts of Saitama.

The torrential rains have been caused by a convergence of several phenomena, including the tropical storm Mawar, which emerged as the second Pacific typhoon of this season.

At 9.45 am, the storm was situated in the Pacific around 200 kilometers southwest of Japan’s volcanic island of Aogashima and moving east-northeast at a speed of 50 kilometers per hour.

At least one person was confirmed dead by the storm when a man in his 60s was found trapped inside his flooded vehicle in an agricultural area of Toyohashi, a city in the central Aichi prefecture, state broadcaster NHK reported.

Toyohashi registered a record 419 millimeters of rain within 24 hours, according to the Japan Meteorological Agency.

In Wakayama’s Kimino locality two people – a man and a woman whose vehicles were swept away on Friday by rising rivers – remain missing, as local authorities have continued search operations.

Around 10 people have been been wounded, most of them with light injuries, after being knocked down by strong winds.

The rains have triggered flooding in some residential areas and highways.

In Toyohashi, floods caused breakdowns in several cars that had come out on the road in extreme conditions and led to traffic jams, while many residents made emergency calls after their houses were cut-off by rising river currents.

The city was among the municipalities to recommend civil evacuation over risk of flooding, while across the country over one million people were advised to move to safer areas.

Flooding alarms also went off in some parts of Tokyo and its suburbs in the early hours of Saturday.

Intermittent rains continued on Saturday in the Chiba and Ibaraki prefectures close to the capital, apart from Saitama and Kanagawa, where several rivers are flowing above the danger mark.

Record rains have been registered in several areas such as Kumamoto – 497.5 mm in 24 hours – Toba (490.5 mm), and Koshigaya in Saitama prefecture (260.5 mm).

Tokyo registered 218 mm rainfall, the highest in the month of June.

Around 270 flights were cancelled on Friday, although aviation activity returned to normal on Saturday.

The high-speed Shinkansen train service that connects Tokyo and Osaka had also been suspended, although the operator said it would be fully restored by noon. EFE


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