Nearly 2 500 people evacuate as record rainfall hits northern Japan, triggering floods and landslides

Nearly 2 500 people evacuate as record rainfall hits northern Japan, triggering floods and landslides

Almost 2 500 people have been evacuated as record-high rainfall poured over northern Japan into Wednesday, July 29, 2020, causing damaging floods and landslides, including in the Yamagata Prefecture, where the Mogami River burst its banks and a mudslide left 540 people isolated.

Heavy rain has been battering the northern region of the country since July 27, triggering several landslides and causing rivers to overflow. In Yamagata, as many as 540 people were left isolated due to mudslides.

"In the village of Okura, 540 people have been left isolated due to landslides," government spokesman Yoshihide Suga confirmed.

Suga added that the Mogami River in the prefecture broke its banks following overnight record rain, flooding at least four areas and leaving many towns inundated. 

In Nagai City, 206.5 mm (8.1 inches) of rain was recorded into July 28, which was the highest 24-hour July rainfall since 1976, according to the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA). Meanwhile, Okura village recorded 95.5 mm (3.8 inches) of rain in only a three-hour period on the same day.

Numerous areas in Yamagata recorded more than 200 mm (8 inches) of rain in 24 hours to Wednesday, July 29, including Tsuruoka, Nishimura, Oguni, and Nagai, according to the JMA.

According to officials, around 90 houses have been damaged by the flooding and nearly 2 500 people have been displaced. One person sustained an injury, but no fatalities were reported.

Rescue teams had to use rubber boats in residential areas to look for stranded people. 

The Yamagata Shinkansen bullet train had temporarily stopped running and some highways were cut off.

The government has started assessing the extent of flood damage along the Mogami River, the longest in Japan, and the river basin that accounts for about 75 percent of the Yamagata Prefecture.

In the neighboring Iwate Prefecture, more than a dozen buildings in Hanamaki and Oshu were inundated as of Wednesday morning.

Featured image credit: ANNnewsCH/YouTube

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