About 50,000 people have been ordered to evacuate their homes in the island of Kyushu, in south-western Japan, after heavy rains have caused mudslides, blocked roads and people trapped.
Six people have died due to the unprecedented flooding. “Particularly in Kumamoto and Oita prefectures, we are seeing the heaviest rain that (the region) has ever experienced,” according to the Japan Meteorological Agency.
More than 17,000 households had been ordered to evacuate in Kumamoto Prefecture. An additional 5,000 have been recommended to start looking for shelter elsewhere.
About 500 millimetres of rain fell in the span of eight hours in some parts of the prefecture, prompting the intervention of emergency troops.
“We are receiving many requests for rescuers and reports of mudslides. We are responding to the calls as swiftly as we possibly can,” said a disaster official in Kumamoto Prefecture.
In Oita Prefecture, nearly 15,000 people have received an order to evacuate, while other 10,000 have been advised to leave by mid morning Thursday.