Extreme Weather in Japan on July 05 2018 07:18 PM (UTC).
The death toll from torrential rains and floods in western Japan has topped 200, the Japan Times reported on Friday. According to the newspaper, 204 people have been confirmed dead, with dozens still missing. Search and rescue operations with more than 70,000 rescuers continue in the flood-affected areas, including the Hiroshima, Okayama, and Ehime prefectures. Authorities believe the death toll will rise further, as many people are believed to be stranded in their homes. The most casualties were reported in the Hiroshima, Ehime, Okayama, Yamaguchi, Kyoto, Gifu, Shiga, Hyogo, Kochi and Fukuoka prefectures. According to the Fire and Disaster Management Agency, around 6,700 people remain in shelters. Up to 5.9 million people were ordered to leave their homes in 19 prefectures due to landslides and flooding. Yoshihide Suga, a government spokesman, warned people in flood-hit areas of further landslides, the Japan Times also reported. Meanwhile, according to the newspaper, municipal workers have been laboring to restore water to flood-hit areas, as temperatures rise above 30 degrees.
The latest casualty figures from the downpours in western Japan were 180 dead, 64 missing and 244,000 households without water supplies, according to Asahi Shimbun calculations on July 11. Among the 13 prefectures hit by flooding and landslides triggered by days of torrential rain, the death tolls were the highest in Hiroshima, Okayama and Ehime. At least 42 people were still unaccounted-for in Hiroshima Prefecture, while the search continued for 18 in Okayama Prefecture. The land ministry said it has received 483 reports of landslides in 29 prefectures, consisting of 358 cliff collapses, 109 flows of debris and 16 landslips. Sixty-three deaths from landslides have been confirmed, according to the ministry. Most of the households without running water are in Hiroshima Prefecture.
Landslides and flooding caused by torrential rain in Japan have killed another 21 people in what has become one of the deadliest natural disasters to hit the country since the earthquake and tsunami at Fukushima in 2011. A total of 176 people have been killed since the downpour began late last week, Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said Wednesday. Another nine are missing. Some 75,000 responders have been deployed to the area for search and rescue operations. Suga warned that thunderstorms and landslides in the coming hours could pose further danger. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was in Okayama Prefecture Wednesday morning surveying the damage in one of the hardest-hit areas. He canceled a scheduled trip to Europe and the Mideast to focus on disaster relief efforts. Abe viewed the damage from above in a helicopter, viewing what he called the "scars of the terrible damage of heavy rain" and visited an evacuation center. He said the government had been making "every effort to deal with this crisis since the disaster occurred." Abe then visited the devastated city of Kurashiki and met with the governor of Okayama. The rain started to pour on Thursday and picked up Friday. Over the weekend, parts of Japan received between 300 to 500 millimeters (12 to 20 inches) of rain, with prefectures of Hiroshima, Okayama, and Hyogo inundated with more than 500 millimeters. Some cities were completely inundated in a matter of hours. Japanese public broadcaster NHK reported about 364 millimeters (14.3 inches) of rain fell between 5 a.m. and 7 a.m. Sunday in Uwajima -- approximately 1.5 times the average monthly rainfall for July. In Sukumo City in Kochi prefecture, 263 millimeters (10.3 inches) of rain fell in two hours, NHK said. The flooding was particularly harsh because much of the rain fell over a mountainous region and then funneled down, causing heavy flash flooding. Hundreds of thousands of people were forced to flee their homes, and those unable to leave took shelter on rooftops as the streets filled with water. Japan is no stranger to natural disasters, especially earthquakes. A series of quakes in Kumamoto in 2016 led to the deaths of more than 200 people, according to the Japanese Red Cross Society. More than 20,000 people were killed or went missing during the Fukushima disaster, when a 9.0-magnitude earthquake hit Japan, triggering a tsunami and nuclear meltdown at the Fukushima nuclear plant.
Akira Tanimoto says his apartment narrowly survived the floods and mudslide at his residential complex over the weekend, and even if he wants to go back there with his wife and two pet birds, he can't because there is no water, power or food available. After their desperate run from floods that had hit the apartment complex where about a dozen of his neighbors were found dead, he returned to his place Monday to check on his apartment, which was almost intact. He also had to bring with him his beloved birds, which he initially had to leave behind. Tanimoto wants to go back there with his wife, Chieko, and their yellow and green parakeets, Pi-chan and Kyako-chan, but said it would take a few weeks until they get the utility services back and clean the place. "I can't go back if I wanted to," the 66-year-old retired Self-Defense serviceman said, holding a bird cage, in which the birds chirped as he spoke. "Electricity is out, water is cut off and there is no information there." Rescuers were combing through mud-covered hillsides and along riverbanks Tuesday searching for dozens of people missing after heavy rains unleashed flooding and mudslides in southwestern Japan, where the death toll has exceeded 150. More than 50 people were unaccounted for as of Tuesday evening, many in the hardest-hit Hiroshima area. At Tanimoto's apartment complex, about a dozen victims have been found. He and his wife grabbed the minimum necessities and walked about 1.5 kilometers (1 mile) to a fire engine Sunday after the floods and mudslides hit the complex. Debris and mudslides had stopped right outside the couple's apartment door. Tanimoto thinks he and his wife are the lucky ones. "Some of our neighbors had their apartments destroyed, others are still looking for their families. So we are lucky. Our parakeets even survived," he said. Work under the scorching sun was hampered by mud and heat, and shipments of relief goods were delayed by damaged roads and transportation systems, especially in areas isolated by the disaster. Residents sheltering at the Yano school were provided with water, blankets and cellphone chargers. But a local volunteer, Yuki Sato, 25, said local convenience stores were obviously in short supply, so she didn't buy anything there because she wanted to save them for the evacuees or others who can't drive out of town. Water and other relief supplies were scarce in some of the other disaster-hit areas. "No water, food, nothing gets here," Ichiro Tanabe, a 73-year-old resident in the neighboring port city of Kure, told the Mainichi newspaper. "We are going to be all dried up if we continue to be isolated." Delivery companies Sagawa Express Co. and Yamato Transport Co. and cargo service Japan Freight Railway Co. said some of their shipments to and from the flooded areas have been suspended or reduced. Regional supermarket chains such as Every Co. said one outlet is closed and several other outlets shortened service hours due to delivery delays and supply shortage. Thousands of homes were still without clean water and electricity in Hiroshima and other hard-hit areas. Residents lined up for water under the scorching sun as temperatures rose to 35 Celsius (95 Fahrenheit), raising risks of heat stroke. In another hard-hit town, Ozu in Ehime prefecture, water supplies were entirely cut off and residents could not clean their mud-stained homes, or even their clothes. At a major supermarket in town, employees sold bottled water and tea, cups of noodles and other preserved foods that survived the floods, while employees cleaned damaged merchandise, throwing items into dozens of plastic bags. The landslides and flooding across much of western Japan have killed at least 155 people, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told a news conference. Some of the thousands of residents who had been evacuated, some rescued from their rooftops, began cleaning up after the rain stopped Monday. Suga said the government set up a task force and was spending 2 billion yen ($18 million) to hasten deliveries of supplies and other support for evacuation centers and residents in the region. Earlier Tuesday, the Self-Defense Force ferried seven oil trucks from Hiroshima to Kure, a manufacturing city whose 226,000 residents were cut off from the rest of the prefecture due to the disaster. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who had canceled a planned trip to Europe and the Middle East this week to oversee the emergency response, will visit disaster-hit areas in the Okayama prefecture, Suga said. The government mobilized 75,000 troops and emergency workers and nearly 80 helicopters for the search and rescue effort, Suga said. Assessment of the casualties was slowed by the scale of the area affected. Officials in Ehime prefecture asked the government to review its weather warning system, noting that rain warnings were issued after damage and casualties already had occurred. The Japan Meteorological Agency said as much as 10 centimeters (3 inches) of rain per hour fell on large parts of southwestern Japan.
The toll in deadly rainfall that has devastated parts of Japan with flooding and landslides rose Tuesday to 122, as hopes faded that further survivors could be found. Dozens of people are still missing, and with the rains finally letting up on Monday, rescue workers were able to reach previously cut-off places where authorities fear more bodies may be trapped beneath debris. With the toll mounting, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe cancelled a four-country foreign trip, and he was expected to visit the disaster-hit region later this week. Over 70,000 emergency workers have been deployed to dig through flood waters and the aftermath of landslides that have transformed the landscape in parts of central and western Japan. But four days after the worst of the rains began, hope was starting to fade that the search would find new survivors. "I have asked my family to prepare for the worst," said Kosuke Kiyohara, 38, as he waited for word of his sister and her two young sons in the town of Kumano. "I can't reach her phone," he told AFP on Monday, sitting across from a house that had been ripped apart and tossed on its side by a huge landslide. Rescue workers acknowledged the odds of finding people alive were getting longer. "It's possible that survivors will be found, but as the days pass the likelihood becomes slimmer," a soldier nearby told AFP. At the end of last week rivers engorged by more than a metre (three feet) of rain burst their banks, engulfing entire villages and forcing people onto rooftops to await evacuation by helicopter. Hillsides gave way under the weight of water, with deadly landslides crushing wooden houses and erasing roads. Government spokesman Yoshihide Suga said 73,000 police, firemen and troops were taking part in the rescue effort, with 700 helicopters deployed to help. In Kumano, soldiers and other emergency workers were using diggers to clear crushed cars and mangled homes and chainsaws to cut up tree trunks. But they were moving carefully, looking as they went for survivors, or the remains of those killed in the disaster. In one part of Kumano, the nose of a white car was just visible underneath the top floor of a home that had been torn from the rest of the building and swept down a hillside. Water was still flowing from the surrounding hillsides around the feet of shellshocked residents, some of whom wept as they saw their damaged district. In neighbouring Okayama prefecture, rescue workers flew in helicopters over areas that are still submerged and otherwise unreachable, looking for signs of life. "As far as we could see from the helicopter, no-one is now waving for help," a rescue worker from Kurashiki city told AFP. Local government officials said pumping trucks were being deployed to help restore access to some of the worst-hit areas, and on Monday flood water was finally starting to recede as the rains stopped. Even as the rains let up, authorities warned the downpours had loosened earth on hillsides and mountain slopes creating new risks. "We urge residents to remain cautious about possible landslides," a weather agency official told AFP. And with many people stuck in modestly equipped shelters with few possessions, or living in damaged homes with no running water or electricity, the rising temperatures posed a new problem, authorities said. At one point around five million people were told to evacuate, but the orders are not mandatory and many people remained at home, becoming trapped by rapidly rising water or sudden landslides. Naoaki Ogawa, 68, was still at home with his wife, daughter and grandson on Friday night, when they saw a wave of mud carrying trees and cars with it tumble down the hill above and engulf the neighbouring house. They tried to flee by car, but were trapped when a second wave swept down just in front of them, swallowing three cars. They were rescued hours later, and returned to the town on Monday, where Mr Ogawa found his telephone, filled with calls from concerned relatives and friends. "I forgot to bring it with me," he said. "So many people called. I want to tell them that I am okay. I am well."
The death toll from torrential rains in western Japan reached 88 late Sunday, with over 50 others still missing after massive flooding and landslides destroyed homes and displaced tens of thousands. Rescue operations by Self-Defense Forces personnel and others were continuing in disaster-hit areas early Monday, as Japan's weather agency warned the public of the continuing danger of landslides and flooding. At one point, evacuation orders or advisories were issued for up to 5.9 million people in 19 prefectures, while over 30,000 people were staying at evacuation centers as of Sunday afternoon, according to the Fire and Disaster Management Agency. The number of casualties is expected to rise as damage in affected areas unfolds. Many people are believed to be stranded in their homes due to a lack of access roads because of flooding. In Okayama Prefecture, one of the hardest-hit areas, more than 1,000 people were temporarily trapped on the roofs of buildings submerged by floods following the bursting of three dikes on the nearby Oda River. Most of them were rescued by boats or helicopters. In the Mabi district, about 1,200 hectares, or one-third of the district, was submerged. About 4,600 homes were inundated in the area. The Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism mobilized pumper trucks to drain the inundated area but it is likely to take about two weeks to complete the drainage. Since the downpour began Thursday, 38 people have died in Hiroshima, 21 in Ehime and 13 in Okayama. The other casualties were from Yamaguchi, Kyoto, Gifu, Shiga, Hyogo, Kochi, Fukuoka and Kagoshima prefectures. About 267,000 homes suffered water outages in 11 prefectures as of Sunday. Roads were also damaged and flooded everywhere and many railway sections remain disrupted. According to the transport ministry, 17 railroad operators were suspending services on 56 routes in western Japan or elsewhere. Businesses continued to be affected, with automaker Mazda Motor Corp and Daihatsu Motor Co, a minivehicle making unit of Toyota Motor Corp, suspending operations in factories in Kyoto, Hiroshima and Yamaguchi. The companies decided on the suspension to ensure the safety of employees amid traffic disruptions as well as due to uncertainty over procurement of auto parts.
Heavy rainfall hammered southern Japan for the third day, prompting new disaster warnings on Kyushu and Shikoku islands on Sunday, as the government put the death toll at 48 with 28 others presumed dead. Japanese government spokesman Yoshihide Suga said the whereabouts of 92 people are unknown, mostly in the southern area of Hiroshima prefecture. More than 100 reports of casualties had been received, such as cars being swept away, he said. Some 40 helicopters were out on rescue missions. "Rescue efforts are a battle with time," Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told reporters. "The rescue teams are doing their utmost." The Japan Meteorological Agency said three hours of rainfall in one area in Kochi prefecture reached an accumulated 10.4 inches, the highest since such records started in 1976. Television footage showed a residential area in Okayama prefecture seeped in brown water spreading like a huge lake. Some people fled to rooftops and balconies and waved furiously at hovering rescue helicopters. Okayama prefecture said a man caught in a landslide died, and six others were missing. Evacuation orders had been issued to more than 360,000 people, the prefecture said in a statement. Throughout the affected areas, parked cars sat in pools of water. NHK TV said water had reached as high as 16 feet in the worst-hit areas. Kyodo news service, which put the death tally at 34 people, said one death was in a landslide in Hiroshima, which had set off a fire, while the body of a child was found in another area. NHK said a woman died in her home in Hiroshima when it got buried in a mudslide. Assessing overall casualties was a challenge because of the widespread damage. NHK repeatedly urged those awaiting rescue to not lose hope. In Ehime prefecture, a woman was found dead on the second floor of a home hit by a landslide, Kyodo said. Also in Ehime, two elementary-school girls and their mother who got sucked into a mudslide were rescued but their hearts weren't beating, it said. Kyoto prefecture said it was working to control flooding at several dams and identified one fatality as a 52-year-old woman. Military water trucks were rushing to areas where water systems were no longer working, Okayama prefecture said. Troops in camouflage outfits helped people and pets reach dry land on small military boats. Evacuation orders or advisories were sent for 4.72 million people, and 48,000 members of the Self-Defense Forces, police and firefighters were mobilized for search missions, according to Kyodo. As of Saturday, 1.6 million people have evacuated, according to the Guardian.
Dozens of people have died and at least 50 are missing after torrential rain triggered landslides and flash flooding in western Japan on Saturday. Local authorities said 20 people had been killed, while public broadcaster NHK said the death toll had risen to 46. The number of casualties is expected to rise, said Yoshinobu Katsuura, a disaster management official in Ehime prefecture. The prime minister, Shinzo Abe, said the situation was "extremely serious" and ordered ministers to "make an all-out effort" to rescue victims. The rainfall has hampered rescue operations in Hiroshima, Ehime, Okayama, Kyoto and other regions. Water levels reached five metres (16ft) in the worst-hit areas, forcing some residents on to rooftops and balconies to attract the attention of rescue helicopters. Almost 2 million people, mainly in western Japan, have been told to evacuate their homes, according to the fire and disaster management agency, but NHK said the figure had risen to nearly 3.2 million. Some areas have been hit by more than one metre of rain, while almost 48,000 soldiers, police and firefighters have been deployed for rescue operations, said the chief cabinet secretary, Yoshihide Suga. Another 21,000 troops are on standby. The Japan Meteorological Agency upgraded its alert system to the highest level - only issued when the amount of rain is expected to be the highest in decades - in large areas of western Japan, while lifting the warning in other regions. Among the missing were five people buried when houses collapsed in Hiroshima prefecture. In Ehime prefecture, a woman was found dead on the second floor of a home hit by a landslide, Kyodo said. Yamaguchi prefecture, another area hit by the heavy rain, alerted people to heed evacuation warnings and act quickly. Kyoto prefecture said it was working to control flooding at several dams. About 250 people had to flee their homes and the prefecture identified one fatality as a 52-year-old woman. Roads were blocked in some areas and warnings were issued on landslides. Military water trucks were rushing to areas where water systems were no longer working, Okayama prefecture said. Although Japan is among the most modernised of Asian nations, rural areas are hit hard by the rainy season each year, often resulting in casualties and heavy damage.
Nine people were dead and 42 others missing as heavy rain continued to lash wide areas of the country, prompting the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) on July 7 to issue more warnings for landslides in extensive areas from western to central Japan. The JMA issued an emergency heavy rain warning in eight prefectures on July 6. Although the JMA subsequently lifted the warnings in four of the prefectures, the agency cautioned that heavy downpours could again hit later on July 7 or 8 even in areas where rain had previously eased, and urged people across the country to take caution. Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told a news conference that the government is cooperating with local governments affected by the disaster to do its best to carry out search and rescue operations, placing priority on the protection of people's lives. He added that 48,000 rescue workers are engaged in search and rescue operations in disaster-hit areas. Suga urged members of the public to exercise extreme caution as downpours could continue until July 8. "Heavy rain could fall on and off until tomorrow, possibly at record levels. We'd like people to pay close attention to evacuation advisories and other information," he told the news conference. "This is heavy rain at a level we've never experienced," a JMA official said as the agency issued warnings in Okayama, Hiroshima, Tottori, Fukuoka, Saga, Nagasaki, Hyogo and Kyoto prefectures. It is the first time that the JMA has issued emergency heavy rain warnings in eight prefectures at the same time since the agency launched the system. An emergency heavy rain warning is issued in anticipation of extreme downpours that occur only once in several decades. The agency lifted the warnings in Hiroshima, Fukuoka, Saga and Nagasaki prefectures on the morning of July 7. "Record-breaking rain was observed across the country. In fear of heavier downpours, we've issued emergency warnings in areas where the amount of rain hasn't exceeded the standards of such a warning system," a JMA official explained. Nine people were confirmed dead across Japan, while 42 people remain missing. Three people are in a state of cardio-respiratory arrest. In Hiroshima Prefecture, emergency services have received reports that residents were buried alive as they were hit by landslides. As of 11 p.m. on July 6, evacuation orders had been issued to about 2.82 million people and evacuation advisories had been issued to some 4.22 million people in 23 prefectures, most of them in the Kinki, Kyushu and Chugoku regions in western Japan. Landslides occurred in several locations in Hiroshima Prefecture on the night of July 6, and there are reports that residents were buried. Local emergency services are continuing search and rescue operations. The Hiroshima Prefectural Government asked the Self-Defense Forces at around 9 p.m. on July 6 to dispatch personnel to assist in rescue operations. Asakita Ward in the city of Hiroshima was hit by 289.5 millimeters of rain over a 72-hour period up to 9:50 p.m. on July 6. Such heavy rain has made the ground loose, which could lead to landslides. In the city of Hiroshima, a massive landslide occurred in August 2014, killing 77 people. Fears that the Katsura River in Kyoto Prefecture could overflow on the night of July 6 forced the Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism Ministry's Kinki Regional Development Bureau to release water from the Hiyoshi Dam situated on the upper reaches of the river in Tannan, Kyoto Prefecture.
Hundreds of thousands of people across a wide swathe of western and central Japan were evacuated from their homes on Friday as torrential rains pounded the nation, flooding rivers, setting off landslides and leaving at least two people dead. The Japan Meteorological Agency said the rainfall was" historic" and warned more rain was set to batter already saturated parts of the nation through Sunday. By Friday morning, one part of the main island of Honshu had been hit with twice the total amount of rain for a normal July. At least two people were killed, one when he was sucked down a drainage pipe and another an elderly woman toppled by a gust of wind. Several more people were missing, including one whose car was swept away as he delivered milk in the early morning hours, NHK national television said. A middle school boy was missing after he was swept away by flood waters in a ditch, NHK added. "The situation is extremely dangerous," wrote a Twitter user in Kochi, a city on the smallest main island of Shikoku, where the rain has been especially intense. Several dozen people were injured, four seriously, the Fire and Disaster Management Agency said. A number of people were buried in a landslide on Friday morning and rescuers were working to dig them out. Around 168,000 people were ordered from their homes due to the danger of further landslides and flooding, and 1.2 million more were advised to leave as of Friday morning, the Agency added. This included parts of the tourist city and ancient capital of Kyoto, where authorities had closed off some bridges and waterside promenades as rivers swelled. Japan's Self Defence Forces dispatched 180 personnel and 50 vehicles to Kyoto as trains across western and central Japan were stopped, including part of one Shinkansen bullet train line. The torrential rain appeared to have been touched off by warm, humid air flowing up from the Pacific Ocean and intensifying the activity of the seasonal rain front. Remnants of a now-dissipated typhoon that brushed Japan earlier this week also contributed, officials said. One part of the smallest main island of Shikoku was hit by 98 mm (4 inches) of rain in the hour to 8:00 a.m. on Friday, with a total of 908 mm (36 inches) in the 48 hours previously. Some parts of Japan were set to see up to 400 mm of rain in the coming 24 hours, with the rain set to continue until Sunday. Japan's weather woes are far from over. Typhoon Maria, forming deep in the Pacific, is set to strengthen, possibly into an intense Category 4 storm, and may directly target the southwestern islands of Okinawa early next week.
Evacuation orders were issued Thursday for 110,000 people in Kyoto Prefecture due to an escalating risk of mudslides as heavy rains hit the area. The Meteorological Agency warned of landslides and rising river levels as the downpours may continue through Sunday in the region including Kyoto, Hyogo and Osaka prefectures, part of which is still reeling from a deadly earthquake in June. At a construction site in Inagawa, Hyogo Prefecture, a worker died after being washed away in a drainage pipe with two others. He is believed to be a 59-year-old man from Wakayama City. In the city of Kyoto, rising water levels in the Kamo River - which runs through the city's central area - have led authorities to prohibit people from entering its riverside promenade, known as one of the city's sightseeing spots. A bridge across the Katsura River in Arashiyama, another famous tourist attraction in the city, was also closed for the same reason. Multiple express and local trains were canceled and the Shin-Meishin Expressway connecting central and western Japan was partially closed Thursday, according to railway and highway operators. The agency said heavy rain of up to 70 millimeters per hour is expected through Friday in the region. In the 24-hour period through 6 a.m. Friday, up to 350 mm of rainfall was forecast for the area.