Heavy rain in south Japan causes floods, mudslides, blackout

Published July 4, 2019, 10:49 PM

by Rica Arevalo

By the Associated Press

TOKYO — Heavy rain caused flooding and mudslides in southern Japan on Thursday, injuring four people, damaging dozens of homes and leaving hundreds of others without power.

Rescuers work on the rooftop of the house damaged by a landslide in Soo, Kagoshima prefecture, western Japan, Thursday, July 4, 2019. (Kyodo News via AP/MANILA BULLETIN)
Rescuers work on the rooftop of the house damaged by a landslide in Soo, Kagoshima prefecture, western Japan, Thursday, July 4, 2019. (Kyodo News via AP/MANILA BULLETIN)

One person was missing and possibly was buried under the same mudslide where another had been confirmed dead earlier, Deputy Chief Cabinet Secretary Yasutoshi Nishimura told reporters. The casualties occurred in the hardest-hit southern prefecture of Kagoshima.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe pledged to “do our best for rescue and lifesaving activities.”

Nearly 80 houses were damaged in Kagoshima and the two other southern prefectures of Miyazaki and Kumamoto. About 1,700 houses were without power.

Videos filmed by residents were circulated on social media showing a river in Kagoshima swollen with muddy, brown water threatening to overrun its banks.

Kagoshima Governor Satoshi Mitazono requested the help of military personnel in the rescue effort. About 14,000 troops were on standby.

Rainfall since the weekend has exceeded 1 meter (yard) in areas, he said, and cautioned residents against landslide risks and urged them to stay up to date with weather reports. The rain has substantially subsided by Thursday afternoon, according to the Meteorological Agency website.

Landslide warnings remained in effect for Kagoshima, Miyazaki, and Kumamoto prefectures.

More than 1 million residents had been advised to evacuate to shelters. About 7,900 people remained at evacuation centers in the hardest-hit three prefectures as of Thursday morning, according to the Fire and Disaster Management Agency.

 
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