Five million people on evacuation order in Japan as rain hits south coast

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Firefighters rescue residents stranded on a boat in Kurume, Fukuoka, Japan on August 14.
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Kyodo / AP news

Firefighters rescue residents stranded on a boat in Kurume, Fukuoka, Japan on August 14.



CNN

More than 5 million residents in Japan have been ordered to evacuate their homes amid the threat of flooding and landslides, as torrential rains hit the southwestern tip of the country.

The strongest evacuation warning, Level 5, was issued to more than one million people on Saturday in Saga, Nagasaki, Fukuoka and Hiroshima prefectures, according to public broadcaster NHK.

The next warning, level 4, was issued in 17 other prefectures, affecting more than 4 million people.

The country’s meteorological authority, which issued the warnings, said in a statement that the rain front could linger over the country for about a week, according to Reuters.

Photographs of hard-hit provinces show residents wading through thigh-high water on flooded streets, carrying children and belongings. Firefighters and other rescuers were also rescuing stranded residents, loading them onto inflatable boats.

A road damaged by the flooding of the Suzuhari River in heavy rains in Hiroshima, Japan on August 13.

Kyodo / AP news

A road damaged by the flooding of the Suzuhari River in heavy rains in Hiroshima, Japan on August 13.

Water levels continue to rise in several rivers, threatening to overflow onto surrounding roads.

Some towns on the southern island of Kuyshu recorded more than 40 millimeters (about 1.6 inches) of water in one hour on Saturday. Up to 250 millimeters (9.8 inches) could fall on the island within 24 hours until Sunday morning, according to national weather officials.

Adachi Yushi, head of weather monitoring at the Meteorological Agency, called the rain “unprecedented” and asked people to follow evacuation orders, according to NHK.

Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga tweeted on Friday that he had set up a disaster control center to coordinate with local and prefectural authorities.

Reuters contributed to this report.

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