More than 37 dead and over 50 missing as record rain floods in Japan, 50,000 rescuers mobilized

More than 37 dead and over 50 missing as record rain floods Japan, 50 000 rescuers mobilized

At least 37 people were killed and more than 50 are missing as record rains continue falling over parts of Japan. Nearly 50 000 members of the Self-Defense Forces, police and firefighting service are searching for trapped, wounded or dead people, Kyodo news service reported Saturday, July 7, 2018. The death toll is expected to rise before the rain eases up on Sunday.
Over 4.72 million people were at one point under evacuation orders or advisories as heavy rains caused landslides and flooding, destroying homes and sweeping away vehicles.
Rivers in a wide area, from southern to western Japan, are swollen or overflowing and bridges are washed away. More than 500 homes were damaged as of 07:00 JST, July 7, according to the government. Major manufacturers were also affected and their production and sales disrupted.
Over 90 mm (3.54 inches) of rain per hour was recorded in the city of Susaki, Kochi Prefecture, and more than 70 mm (2.75 inches) in the same time span in Iwakuni, Yamaguchi Prefecture.
Yanase in Umaji village, Kochi prefecture, recorded 1 190 mm (46.85 inches) of rain in 72 hours, which is double the total amount that usually falls in the month of July..
In the 24-hour period through noon Sunday, 250 mm (9.84 inches) of additional rain is forecast to fall on the Tokai and southern Kyushu regions, 200 mm (7.87 inches) in the Shikoku and Hokuriku regions, and 150 mm (5.90 inches) in the Kinki and northern Kyushu regions.
This extreme weather event was caused by a seasonal rain front expected to be stationary above the main island of Honshu until around July 8.
"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 on July 6. 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 in 2013.
However, many people in Japan decide to remain in their homes, even in mountainous areas, as such warnings are not compulsory evacuation orders, Kyodo said.
At least 37 people have been killed, more than 50 are still missing and dozens are injured, as of late Saturday afternoon (JST), July 7.
Hiroshima Prefecture was hardest hit with at least 20 dead in landslides. 9 people died in Ehime Prefecture and the rest in Osaka, Shiga, Hyogo, Okayama, Yamaguchi and Fukuoka, Kyodo reports.
As of 18:00 JST today, public broadcaster NHK had put the death toll at 38.
Featured image: Floods in Japan, July 2018. Credit: yyy ym

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