Heavy Rains, Extensive Flooding Batter Japan

  • In Yamagata, the Mogami River, which is the seventh longest in the country, breached its banks.
  • In Akita prefecture, another river also burst its banks.
  • It is estimated that 90 homes have been damaged and around 2,500 people have been evacuated.

Heavy rains have pounded northeastern part of Japan causing extensive flooding. No deaths have been recorded, but authorities did say that one person was injured. The overnight downpour caused major rivers to burst their banks, leading to floods in residential areas.

Record-breaking heavy rain hit the prefectures of Kumamoto and Kagoshima in the southern Japanese island of Kyushu on 4 July 2020 in the middle of the East Asian rainy season. As a result of flooding and landslides, 66 people were confirmed dead and approximately one dozen are missing.

In Yamagata, the Mogami River, which is the seventh longest in the country, breached its banks. The land ministry said the river burst its bank in three areas in Oishida and the village of Okura.

In Akita prefecture, another river also burst its banks. The Chief Government spokesman, Yoshihide Suga, called on people in areas prone to mudslides to evacuate. Suga said that in Okuru village, more than 500 people have been isolated following landslides.

It is estimated that 90 homes have been damaged and around 2,500 people have been evacuated. Residents have been warned of mudslides since the rains are expected to continue, and urged people to avoid rivers in low-lying areas. Authorities called on the people to keep social distance as they seek shelter so as to curb the spread of the coronavirus.

The Japan Meteorological Agency has warned of landslides, floods and rivers breaking their banks as the rains continue to pound. The JMA revealed that the unstable weather is likely to affect other areas in the eastern and western Japan. It warned of strong tornado-like winds, thunderstorms, and possible lightning strikes.

The East Asian rainy season, commonly called the plum rain, is caused by precipitation along a persistent stationary front known as the Meiyu front for nearly two months during the late spring and early summer between China, Korea, Japan and Taiwan. The wet season ends during the summer when the subtropical ridge becomes strong enough to push this front north of the region.

The country’s meteorological agency projected a rainfall of 100mm in Kyushu and 60mm in Kanto region by Thursday. The JMA revealed that the city of Nagai had received a rainfall of 205mm in 24 hours.

Earlier in the month, Japan experienced heavy rains which triggered landslides that destroyed homes and made roads impassable. More than 60 people died from the floods and landslides. The authorities deployed thousands of army troops, police, and other rescue workers in the affected areas to help in the search and rescue mission.

The coronavirus pandemic further complicated the situation because most people did not offer help for fear of contracting the virus. A majority of flood victims even opted to shelter in their own cars, reserving the few spaces in the shelter for other victims who had no option at all.

The country is prone to floods and landslides, and is in the middle of its annual rainy season.  Japan is usually at a higher risk of heavy rains during early summer, whereby warm and wet air from the East China Sea flows into a seasonal rain.

In 2018, more than 200 people died from heavy rains and flooding in the southwestern part of the country. It was the highest death toll from rainfall experienced in the country in more than three decades. Following the heavy rains more than 8 Million were advised to evacuate. The country suffered a huge a loss estimated at $9.86 billion.

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Juliet Norah

I am a freelance journalist is passionate about news. I derive pleasure in informing people about the happenings in the world

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