Japan’s summer weather is infamously dangerous, and this July has already seen some terrible casualties. Southwestern Japan was devastated after heavy rains triggered floods which in caused landslides. 90 people perished in the initial onslaught of natural disasters with another 13 dying from cardiac arrest.
Describing the damage on Sunday, Cabinet Secretary Suga said, “The record rainfalls in various parts of the country have caused rivers to burst their banks, and triggered large scale floods and landslides in several areas.”
While the rains have subsided for the time being, the nation has suffered colossal property damage and dozens of people are still reported missing. Additionally, natural disaster authorities and experts have warned that it isn’t safe to roam around yet. Land and mudslides are still extremely likely to happen in the wake of the deadly rains. 2 million people were urged by the government to leave their homes.
Those who were unable to escape in time sought refuge on the roofs of their buildings, watching their homes and possessions sink into the dark and muddy waters. Many business owners and shopkeepers were lucky to secure their families, but lost everything else.
Japan’s affected infrastructure is in complete chaos. Phone lines are down in many prefectures and17,000 homes remain without power whilst thousands of other houses were damaged or destroyed outright after being hit by large waves then pulled down by the shifting ground . Highways and railroads are still closed with many cars having been swept into the dangerous waters.
Not even forecasts for sunny weather can offer a reprieve for the survivors. Suga also cautioned residents that they must be wary of heatstroke from dangerously hot, clear weather in the coming days.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe promised to “unite and move swiftly to deliver those necessities to the disaster victims by coordinating closely with local government.” He also pledged to increase the amount of aid and education available at designated evacuation and relief centers in the future.
Currently, law enforcement and rescuers are prioritizing getting elderly survivors to hospitals and medical care.