Heavy rain hits northern Japan, 200,000 urged to evacuate

Agence France-Presse

Posted at Aug 04 2022 02:11 PM

 This video grab released by the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism Tohoku Regional Development Bureau via Jiji Press shows floods at the Mogami river in Oe city, Yamagata Prefecture, northeastern Japan, Aug. 4, 2022. The Japan Meteorological Agency issued the highest level rain alert in northeastern Japan as large areas of the region are hit by heavy rainfalls. Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism/EPA-EFE
This video grab released by the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism Tohoku Regional Development Bureau via Jiji Press shows floods at the Mogami river in Oe city, Yamagata Prefecture, northeastern Japan, Aug. 4, 2022. The Japan Meteorological Agency issued the highest level rain alert in northeastern Japan as large areas of the region are hit by heavy rainfalls. Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism/EPA-EFE

TOKYO — Bridges collapsed and rivers burst their banks as heavy rain lashed northern Japan on Thursday, with 200,000 residents urged to evacuate as authorities warned of dangerous flooding.

TV footage showed a muddy mass of broken trees swept into a mountainous residential area by the downpours, which broke records in some areas.

Two people have been reported missing, top government spokesman Hirokazu Matsuno told reporters.

Authorities have warned of an increased risk of landslides and floods.

Public broadcaster NHK said non-compulsory evacuation advisories were issued to 200,000 residents in 5 regions: Niigata, Yamagata, Fukushima, Ishikawa and Fukui.

Other TV footage showed homes flooded by an overflowing river and another muddy waterway reaching the height of a bridge.

Some shinkansen bullet trains were suspended in the affected areas.

Scientists say climate change is intensifying the risk of heavy rain in Japan and elsewhere because a warmer atmosphere holds more water.

Strong rain in 2021 triggered a devastating landslide in the central resort town of Atami that killed 27 people.

And in 2018, floods and landslides killed more than 200 people in western Japan during the country's annual rainy season.

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