The record rainfall recorded in the last hours in central and western Japan have caused severe flooding and left the least two dead and a dozen missing , as well as damage to infrastructure such as bridges and roads.

The storm that hits the Japanese archipelago has mainly affected the prefectures of Kanagawa and Shizuoka , southwest of Tokyo , where more than 790 and 550 millimeters of rain have fallen in 72 hours, according to data from the Japanese Meteorological Agency.

This has caused river overflows, floods and landslides in the worst hit areas, disasters that, according to experts, are increasingly common in the Japanese archipelago during its summer rainy season due to the effects of climate change .

Crisis Cabinet
The Executive has convened a crisis cabinet to respond to the catastrophe and send urgent aid to the area, for which troops from the National Self-Defense Forces (Army) have been mobilized, and when there are about three weeks left until the opening of the Games Olympics scheduled in Tokyo.

The most serious incident has occurred in the town of Atami , located between rugged mountains and the coast and where heavy rains caused landslides that destroyed some 300 homes and left around 20 people unaccounted for.

In images filmed by citizens and distributed by social networks, it was possible to see how a gigantic mudslide washed away entire buildings, cars and part of the power lines and the road of the aforementioned city, a popular tourist destination for its “onsen “or Japanese hot springs.

The rescue services have recovered for the moment two lifeless bodies that were dragged through the mud to the port area of ​​the city, and continue the search for a score of missing people, according to local authorities.

Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga said that “all possible resources” will be mobilized to try to find the disappeared and assist the victims, in statements to local media after holding an emergency meeting.

Local authorities also ordered the evacuation of some 20,000 people in Atami and several thousand more in different parts of southwestern Japan, while the prefectures of Shizuoka, Kanagawa and Chiba remain under maximum weather alert.

A man in his 20s has disappeared in Chiba after being last seen near a river that overflowed, according to state broadcaster NHK.

Flooding of rivers
In the town of Hiratsuka, the flooding of another river flooded dozens of houses, and landslides on roads occurred around the city of Yokohama, causing damage to vehicles and traffic cuts.

Torrential rains have also caused disruptions to the rail transport network , with temporary suspensions of high-speed Shinkansen services between Tokyo and Shin-Osaka stations, as well as other local lines, operating companies reported.

Japan’s Meteorological Agency has warned of the risk of further flooding and land displacement over the weekend on the country’s west coast, given the forecast that torrential rainfall will continue.

The unprecedented levels of rain recorded are due to a front that has stagnated on the Pacific coast of Japan and will move towards the northeast of the country, according to the aforementioned state agency.

By Sam Rak

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