More than 2 million people were ordered to evacuate their homes as Tropical Storm “Mawar”, accompanied by a severe weather front, brought heavy rains and caused widespread damage in Japan on June 2, 2023, triggering floods and landslides.
Thunderstorms were developing in succession from Friday through Saturday morning, June 2 – 3, in western and central areas, with 23 locations in eight prefectures seeing record levels of 24-hour rainfall, according to the Japan Meteorological Agency.
The Fire and Disaster Management Agency (FDMA) issued evacuation orders for over 2 million people across multiple prefectures, including Gifu, Shizuoka, Aichi, Mie, Osaka, Nara, Wakayama, and Tokushima, as the storm brought heavy rains and strong winds. Tosashimizu City in Kochi Prefecture recorded 93 mm (3.66 inches) of rain in 1 hour and 358.5 mm (14.11 inches) in 12 hours on June 2. On the following day, Tahara City in Aichi Prefecture registered 341.5 mm (13.44 inches) of rain in a 12-hour span.
As of June 3, 2 people have lost their lives and 5 were missing.
One victim died in Toyohashi, Aichi, trapped in a flooded vehicle, while another individual was swept away by floodwaters in Moka, Tochigi Prefecture. A total of 35 people were injured, including 10 in Okinawa and 14 in Kanagawa Prefectures.
Among the missing is Hisao Sakai, 72, a respected figure from the city of Kinokawa. Known for his kindness and sense of responsibility, Sakai served as the head of the neighborhood association and played other leadership roles in the community. When the Makuni River began to overflow on June 2, Sakai left his home in an upland area with ropes in his hands to rescue people who were still left in their homes along the river. He was subsequently swept up in the muddy waters.
“My husband is the kind of person who is willing to help others more than anyone else. As police officers and firefighters are desperately searching for him, I have no choice but to wait for them to contact me,” said Sakai’s wife, Kiyoko.
The Makuni River, one of the most famous spots for viewing fireflies in Wakayama Prefecture, was particularly special for Sakai. “A friend was coming to visit our home to see fireflies on June 4, and my husband was looking forward to it,” Kiyoko Sakai shared.
Typhoon Mawar had previously skirted the US island territory of Guam in the Western Pacific, where hundreds of people were forced to evacuate their homes. The storm then moved towards the northern Philippines and Taiwan before making its way to Japan.
1 Japan – 2 Dead, 4 Missing, Homes Destroyed After Tropical Storm Mawar Dumps Heavy Rain – FloodList – June 4, 2023
2 2 dead, 35 injured after heavy rain pounds Japan – The Mainichi – June 3, 2023
3 Missing man in west Japan tried to rescue people stranded along swollen river – The Mainichi – June 5, 2023
Featured image: Tropical Storm “Mawar” at 07:10 UTC on June 2, 2023. Credit: JMA/Himawari-9, RAMMB/CIRA, The Watchers
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