At least two dead as 900,000 flee floods in Japan, Latest World News - The New Paper

At least two dead as 900,000 flee floods in Japan

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Rivers burst banks, roads washed away as 48 hours of heavy rain lashes Kyushu

TOKYO Torrential rain triggered floods and landslides in Japan yesterday, killing at least two people and prompting authorities to order more than 900,000 people to leave their homes while another million were advised to move to safety.

More than twice the usual rainfall for the whole of this month has fallen over parts of the southern island of Kyushu over 48 hours, washing away roads, causing rivers to burst their banks and forcing the suspension of train services.

One man was killed when his car was swept away in Saga prefecture, while another man in Fukuoka prefecture died after being dragged away by flood waters when he got out of his stalled car.

A woman in Saga was found without signs of life - a term Japanese authorities use to describe people yet to be officially confirmed as dead - in her car after it fell into a waterway.

One man in an evacuation centre told NHK: "I woke up and the water was ankle-deep in my house, which has never happened before.

"So I played it safe and evacuated early before things got any worse."

In one part of Saga, 427mm of rain fell in the 48 hours up to 5pm (4pm Singapore time) yesterday.

A mother wearing a life vest in a rescue boat told public broadcaster NHK she had been saved from the floodwaters.

"I was so scared as I have a little child. I'm worried there could be worse damage because there's an ongoing power outage," she said.

A woman living near an overflowing river said she had been woken by the sound of heavy rain and a disaster alert on her phone.

"This is very rare. Rice fields and other places are flooded. It's like a sea," she told NHK.

Though authorities withdrew a warning of historically heavy rain by the afternoon, it was expected to keep falling overnight, prompting additional warnings about flooding and landslides.

Television footage showed roads and railroad stations inundated and people wading knee-deep in flooded streets after several rivers broke their banks.

Twitter users posted video of muddy brown torrents pouring through streets.

"The first floor of our house is flooded and a total wreck, so we're here on the second floor, awaiting rescue," one person posted on Twitter.

"We can see the firemen out there moving around, but our street is such a mess they don't seem to want to come in."

The Ground Self-Defence Force - Japan's military - said it had deployed about 100 troops for disaster relief after a request from Saga prefecture.

Public transport and businesses were affected.

Toyota said it would suspend work yesterday evening at a factory in Kyushu that builds Lexus cars, while Daihatsu Motor said it would stop work at its factories in the region. - REUTERS, AFP