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  • Writer's pictureBy Reporter

Japan’s relentless rain kills 56, forces 1.4 million residents to flee Kyushu Island

July 7, 2020

About 1.4 million residents of the southern Japanese island of Kyushu have been forced to flee their homes amid relentless rain on Tuesday, while the death toll from downpours on the island has risen to 56, local media reported.

An elderly couple has died in the city of Yamaga shortly after they were rescued from a submerged vehicle in a rice paddy, Kyodo News reported.

An 87-year-old woman was confirmed dead after being found in her inundated home in the city of Omuta late Monday, according to Kyodo.

Two temporary evacuation centres in Omuta, where more than 200 people had stayed, were flooded, the report said.

The Japan Meteorological Agency issued a heavy rain emergency warning for Saga, Nagasaki and Fukuoka prefectures on Kyushu on Monday, calling on residents to be on “maximum alert.”

The agency lifted the emergency shortly before noon on Tuesday, but it warned of flooding, mudslides and swollen rivers in wide areas of Japan.

A seasonal rainy front was expected to continue dumping torrential rains on Kyushu and other parts of the country through Wednesday, including flood-stricken areas in Kumamoto prefecture, according to the agency.

A total of 582 schools were temporarily closed on Tuesday in 10 prefectures, including Hiroshima and Shizuoka.

Landslides and flooding caused by heavy rains struck rural areas of Kumamoto over the weekend, leaving 53 people dead and nine others unaccounted for with bad weather conditions hampering search and rescue operations.

A government report also showed a total of 71 landslides, including 42 in Kumamoto and 15 in Kagoshima, occurred since Saturday.

A water outage caused by the disaster affected more than 2,100 households in Kumamoto and Kagoshima, the government said.

Also about 4,600 households lost electricity in the prefectures of Oita, Kagoshima and Kumamoto as of Tuesday evening, according to Kyushu Electric Power.

Rainfall of up to 250 millimetres was forecast for southern Kyushu, the island of Shikoku and the Tokai region by Wednesday evening, the weather agency said.

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