Japan- Continuing heavy down-pours of rain swept across southwest Japan for the third day in a row Saturday, triggering severe flash flooding and devastating mudslides that has left at least 20 people dead, 7 missing, and nearly 400,000 residents of the area forced to evacuate their homes to designated shelters.
The Japan Meteorological Agency reported more than 30 inches of rain fell in the last 72 hours in the city of Aso, situated at the foot of a volcano in Kumamoto prefecture.
4.3 inches of rainfall per hour was recorded still hitting the area Saturday, urging evacuation orders to be issued to the estimated 260,000 residents of the northern part of the main southern island of Kyushu, where there is more possibility for the rivers to burst their banks.
Another estimated 140,000 residents of other areas were also asked to evacuate their homes to avoid potential disaster as the Japan Meteorological Agency warned for the threat of more landslides and floods, IOL News reports.
Water levels along the Yamakuni river in Oita prefecture could be seen climbing up to the height of the roof of a riverside drive-in restaurant. In the Fukuoka prefecture 181 mudslides left at least 820 homes damaged or destroyed and three bridges were washed away as rivers continued to overflow, according to reports from News24.
In a statement by Fukuoka prefecture spokesperson Hiroaki Aoki:
“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.”
Japan’s Self-Defence Forces have been brought in to help search for those still missing and aid in evacuation efforts according to reports from BBC.