Japan faces one of the latest extreme weather events where an unprecedented amount of rainfall, particularly in the western parts of the country, have triggered severe flooding and fatal mudslides, killing multiple residents.
What is Happening?
- Torrential rain in Japan has triggered severe floods and landslides in western regions of Japan, with more than 1.8 people warned to seek shelter.
- Much like in Germany and China earlier this summer where historic levels of rainfall have led to catastrophic floods devastating both countries, Japan has already experienced some record high rainfall in large parts of the country since August 13, particularly the southernmost main island of Kyushu.
- A recorded 743 mm of rain fell in 48 hours in areas near the city of Unzen in Nagasaki prefecture.
- At least one fatality was reported on August 13 and two people are still currently missing. On August 15, a fatal mudslide buried eight people in a house in Okaya City, Nagano Prefecture with three fatalities, according to Japan’s Fire and Disaster Management Agency (FDMA).
- A number of areas have issued the highest-level rain warnings including Fukuoka while Hiroshima and the northern part of Kyushu received their highest level evacuation alert, which affects nearly two million residents in these prefectures.
- Resulting floods from unprecedented rainfall have overwhelmed many residential buildings, public roads and even hospitals.
- More than 150 troops, police and firefighters have been deployed to help with rescue operations throughout the country.
- Experts warn the rivers in Saga and Fukuoka that have been overflowed with water levels are still rising, with high levels of rainfall to be expected in the capital city of Tokyo and other parts of the country.
- While heavy floods in Japan have been known to occur, the frequency and severity have worsened over the years. In 2019, Takeo city was faced with a record downpour that killed three people. At that time, the Japanese government predicted that extreme weather events would only happen once every few decades.
- The Prime Minister of Japan Yoshihide Suga said the country “will continue to face conditions in which a large-scale disaster could occur at any time, anywhere.”
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Featured image: Disaster Relief Volunteer, Hiroshima, Heavy Rain in Western Japan. Photo by: Flickr