As the death toll from floods and landslides in Japan rises to at least 20, around 260,000 people living in the affected area have been ordered to evacuate.
Digital Journal reported on July 12, on the record rains and mudslides in Japan. Since that date, the death toll has risen to at least 20 people dead.
Most of the dead were killed in landslides in and around the town of Aso, which is located at the foot of a volcano in Kumamoto prefecture. Kumamoto is one of 4 prefectures affected by the torrential rains and mudslides. Many of these were elderly people who were unable to leave their homes unassisted, as the water levels rose.
On the southwestern island of Kyushu, around 260,000 people living in the affected area have been ordered to evacuate and 140,000 have been advised to leave their homes, in order to avoid jeopardizing their lives. They have been instructed to go to designated shelters, which include schools and other public facilities.
Local television footage shows land masses and streets, flooded with streaming, muddy water, and pieces of debris.
According to the Fukuoka prefecture's spokesman, Hiroaki Aoki, up to 181 landslides have occurred, washing away three bridges and damaging 820 houses.
He told the media, “Two men were rescued from landslides but their conditions were not immediately available. One woman was still trapped. I don’t remember any flooding which stretched over such a wide area in our prefecture.”
According to the Japanese Meteorological Agency, more floods and landslides can be expected as the torrential rain continues to batter the island. On Saturday, rainfall of up to 4.3 inches (11 cm) were registered. The heavy rains have been battering Kyushu since last Thursday.
Photos of the flooded areas can be viewed here.