Floods in the Kumamoto region of Japan destroyed homes, washed away vehicles and caused bridges to collapse, leaving many cities in the water and some residents suspended from the world. Authorities count at least 34 dead and 14 missing.
More than 40,000 police officers, firefighters, coastguards and soldiers work hard to find survivors in Japan, Sunday, July 5. Heavy rain fell in the Kumamoto region on Saturday, destroying homes, transporting vehicles and causing bridges to fall. The floods and landslides reported by the authorities totaled 34 deaths on Sunday while 14 people were also missing.
The government of the Kumamoto region, located on the island of Kyushu, in the southwestern part of the country, has confirmed 18 deaths, while 16 people are in a “heart-breathing organization”, a term used in Japan to speak of a death that is not yet official has been confirmed by a doctor.
Among the officially deceased, 14 residents of a medical home were flooded on Saturday as rivers emerged from their beds. About fifty other residents of this facility were rescued.
Since Sunday morning, the rainfall had decreased in intensity in Kumamoto, but many residents remained excluded from the world due to the extensive damage caused by the bad weather. Over 200,000 people were also ordered to evacuate.
“Saving lives is our priority”
“We will do everything we can to prevent the spread of the coronavirus and make life as comfortable as possible for those who have been forced to leave their homes,” Ryota Takeda, Minister of Disaster Management, told reporters after ‘s returned to a gymnasium in the city of Hitoyoshi with 600 inhabitants.
During a Tokyo cabinet meeting on the disaster, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe pledged to provide financial support, while urging locals to prepare for the arrival of new precipitation. “Saving lives is our priority,” he said.
People living along the Kuma River, which flows through Hitoyoshi, have been hit hard by the floods. A large “SOS” sign was drawn because of a closed elementary school in the city of Yatsushiro, where a dozen people made large signs against the media and rescue helicopters with white towels and umbrellas. Rescue groups and soldiers have deployed helicopters and boats to reach them.
In 2018, floods in western Japan killed more than 200 people.