Japanese authorities ordered thousands of people to leave their homes after a landslide triggered by the “heaviest rain in the region” killed at least one person and left three others missing on Monday.
Japan’s southwestern island of Kyushu saw heavy rains trigger landslides, prompting authorities in parts of Fukuoka and Oita prefectures to issue the highest level warning for heavy rain.
A 77-year-old woman in Fukuoka Prefecture was killed in a landslide at her home at night. In Saga Prefecture, three people were reported missing after a landslide hit two houses, public broadcaster NHK reported.
Heavy rain also forced the suspension of Shinkansen bullet train service running between western Hiroshima and Fukuoka.
Japan is on alert
Japan’s Meteorological Agency (JMA) is urging people to leave their homes and take shelter as heavy rains could cause floods and landslides in the Fukuoka and Oita regions.
Non-mandatory orders were issued for the evacuation of parts of Fukuoka, Oita and nearby prefectures.
“A special heavy rain warning has been issued for cities in Fukuoka Prefecture. This is the heaviest rain ever experienced” in the region, JMA’s Satoshi Sugimoto said.
Kyushu prepares for disaster
The northern regions of Kyushu are expected to receive additional rainfall of up to 200 millimeters (7.87 inches) in the next 24 hours, Sugimoto said.
“There is a very high possibility that a disaster has occurred… The situation is such that life is at risk and safety must be ensured,” he added.
A taskforce has been established to monitor and coordinate an appropriate response to the disaster, according to the prime minister’s office.
Japan is currently witnessing its annual rainy season which often sees heavy rains that sometimes lead to floods and landslides.
mf/wd (Reuters, AFP)