More than 1 million people ordered to evacuate after heavy rain hits southern Japan

People using umbrellas to shelter from the rain in Tokyo, Japan, on April 30, 2019.
People using umbrellas to shelter from the rain in Tokyo, Japan, on April 30, 2019.PHOTO: AFP

TOKYO (XINHUA, DPA) - Japanese meteorological authorities issued evacuation orders and advisories to around 1.2 million people in south-western Kyushu region on Monday (July 1), warning that heavy rain could cause landslides and flooding in low-lying areas.

The Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) says warm, damp air has combined with the seasonal rain front to bring heavy rain mainly to the south-western island of Kyushu.

In Kagoshima prefecture where evacuation orders have been issued to about 6,000 people in 2,859 households, a woman in her 70s was rescued after she was buried by mud that had engulfed her house.

Meanwhile, evacuation advisories are in place in the prefectures of Kagoshima, Miyazaki, Kumamoto and Ehime. Local emergency authorities are calling on residents to move to shelters for safety.

The heavy rain is affecting transportation services in the southern part of Kyushu.

Kyushu Railway Company says the Shinkansen bullet train has been suspended between Kumamoto and Kagoshima-Chuo Station.

Several local trains in the area have also suspended operations. Some portions of highways also have been closed.

Rainfall of up to 200mm was forecast for southern Kyushu and up to 100mm for northern Kyushu, the south-western island of Shikoku and the Kinki region by Tuesday morning, according to the JMA.

A year ago, torrential rains in western Japan triggered floods and landslides, killing more than 220 people, the largest number of deaths in three decades.