Heavy rains in Japan force evacuation of 75,000 people

Tokyo, July 4 (efe-epa).- Japan on Saturday ordered the evacuation of some 75,000 people in the southwest of the country after heavy rains triggered floods and mudslides.

According to public broadcaster NHK, the worst-affected areas include16 municipalities in the Kumamoto prefecture and another four in the Kagoshima prefecture.

The authorities didn’t report any casualties due to the rains.

Japan Meteorological Agency issued the highest level of emergency alert for both prefectures, warning of landslides and overflowing rivers and streams.

“A heavy rain emergency warning has been issued for municipalities in Kumamoto and Kagoshima prefectures. Cities and towns that have issued emergency warnings are experiencing unprecedented heavy rainfall,” weatherman Nakamoto Yoshihisa said.

“It’s highly likely that some kind of disaster has already occurred in landslide disaster caution zones and flood forecast zones. The situation has reached the alert level 5. We have to do our best to protect our lives.”

The weather department also asked inhabitants of the worst-affected areas to evacuate their homes and go to designated safe places.

The downpour caused over 100 millimeters of rain an hour on parts of Kumamoto Prefecture with weather officials calling on residents to take steps to ensure their safety.

The Kuma River, which runs through southern Kumamoto, has been flooded.

NHK reported that a bridge was washed away. Some 100 people who live nearby were stranded.

The authorities issued a landslide alert for some areas in Kyushu, as well as parts of the Shikoku island.

Weather officials have also warned of flooding in low-lying areas, overflowing rivers, as well as lightning strikes and sudden wind gusts. EFE-EPA


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