Listen to this Article Now
As torrential rains hammer the country’s southwestern region, more than 5 million inhabitants in Japan have been advised to evacuate their homes owing to the fear of flooding and landslides. According to national broadcaster NHK, the toughest evacuation warning, Level 5, was issued on Saturday to more than a million people in the prefectures of Saga, Nagasaki, Fukuoka, and Hiroshima.
Level 4 warnings were issued to 17 other prefectures, affecting almost 4 million people.
The rain front could hover over the country for up to a week, according to the country’s meteorological authorities, which issued the warnings. Several rivers’ water levels are still rising, threatening to flood onto nearby highways.
On Saturday, some cities on Kuyshu’s southern island received more than 40 millimeters (1.6 inches) of rain in a single hour. National meteorological forecasters predict that the island might receive up to 250 millimeters (9.8 inches) of rain during the next 24 hours and into Sunday morning.
Adachi Yushi, the Meteorological Agency’s head of weather monitoring, described the downpour as “unprecedented” and advised people to obey evacuation instructions. Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga announced on Friday that a disaster control center had been established to work with municipal and prefecture officials