At least 50 people killed by flooding as heavy rains sweep southern Japan
A road is flooded by heavy train in Higashihiroshima, Hiroshima Prefecture, Japan, Jul. 7, 2018. EPA-EFE/JIJI PRESS JAPAN OUT EDITORIAL USE ONLY NO ARCHIVES
A road is destroyed due to heavy train in Higashihiroshima, Hiroshima Prefecture, Japan, Jul. 7, 2018. EPA-EFE/JIJI PRESS JAPAN OUT EDITORIAL USE ONLY NO ARCHIVES
JR railway train is derailed due to heavy rain in Karatsu, Saga Prefecture, southwestern Japan, Jul. 7, 2018. EPA-EFE/JIJI PRESS JAPAN OUT EDITORIAL USE ONLY NO ARCHIVES
Tokyo, Jul 7 (efe-epa).- At least 50 people have died and almost dozens remained missing Saturday due to torrential rainfall and flooding in southern Japan.
The Japan Meteorological Agency has issued the highest possible alert for the prefectures of Hyogo, Okayama, Gifu Fukuoka, Nagasaki, Saga, Hiroshima and Tottori, public broadcaster NHK reported.
Dozens of people were missing, mainly in the prefectures of Okayama, Hiroshima and Ehime, where rescue teams have widened their search for trapped or injured people.
Around 650 members of the armed forces have been deployed for rescue operations, while a further 21,000 were on standby, Japan's defense minister Itsunori Onodera told reporters.
Images broadcast by NHK showed areas flooded by overflowing rivers and houses located on mountain slopes partially buried by landslides.
Authorities have issued evacuation orders affecting over four million people.
In a press conference, the JMA warned that the earth had softened due to the rainfall, increasing the risk of accidents related to landslides.
The Japanese archipelago has been pounded by heavy rain since Thursday.
The JMA has forecast record rainfall until Sunday and warned that in some regions, precipitation could reach up to 8 centimeters per hour (3.14 inches per hour).