More Than a Million Ordered to Evacuate as Southern Japan Braces for a Month of Rain in a Single Day

The fallout from last year’s floods in Japan.
Photo: Getty

More than 1 million people are being ordered to evacuate from southern Japan as an onslaught of rain threatens their safety.

Nearly 6 inches of rain that fell Wednesday is set to cause mudslides and deadly floods, reports the Japan Times. And that amount is set to increase big time in the coming days. As CNN noted, the 13 inches predicted to fall on Kyushu Island in southern Japan on Thursday amounts to what the region typically sees in a month. Instead, the water will come in a single day. That’s why authorities are asking residents in the region to leave, now.

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Last summer, Japan saw its deadliest flood disaster in decades. More than 200 people died in western Japan. The Japanese government wants to avoid that this time around by evacuating folks sooner rather than later. This level of rain is loosening the ground, per the Japan Meteorological Agency. That’s how landslides happen—and they can be ugly.

The rains began late last week, per NPR, and they haven’t stopped. Since then, 39 inches has poured over Kyushu Island, reports BBC. Thunderstorms and high waves have accompanied the storms. The government already has a 14,000-person rescue team ready to deploy. Only 4,000 people had evacuated so far, and at least one person is already dead, BBC said.

“The sound of the rain is so strong that it worries me,” an evacuee told Japan Today.

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Weather is seemingly becoming wilder in this part of the world. And that’s not entirely unexpected: Japan is expected to see more heavy rainfall days, as well as typhoons, in a warmer world, a 2015 government report concluded. The damage was widespread after last year’s floods, and things aren’t looking much better this time around.

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About the author

Yessenia Funes

I mostly write about how environmental policy and climate change intersect with race and class though I occasionally write about animals, science, and art, too. We all need an escape, right?

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