News Thousands told to evacuate as record rain causes mass floods in Japan

Thousands told to evacuate as record rain causes mass floods in Japan

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Tens of thousands of people in north-eastern Japan have been told to evacuate their homes as record-breaking rains triggered major flooding, authorities said.

Heavy rains caused the Mogami River to overflow its banks in the prefecture of Yamagata, inundating houses and roads, video footage showed.

“In the village of Okura, 540 people have been left isolated due to landslides,” government spokesman Yoshihide Suga told a news conference.

Local residents were on Wednesday trying to shelter and keep social distance at the same time amid fears of the COVID-19 pandemic.

No deaths and no missing were reported in Yamagata, local officials said, while a woman in her 90s was reportedly injured.

The city of Nagai had received a rainfall of 205mm in the 24 hours until early Wednesday, according to the Japan Meteorological Agency.

The weather agency warned of flooding, mudslides and swollen rivers as a seasonal rainy front brought record rainfall in the north east and the southern island of Kyushu.

Rainfall of up to 100mm was forecast for northern Kyushu, 60mm for the Kanto region, including Tokyo, and 40mm for the north east by Thursday morning, the agency said.

Earlier this month, torrential rains battered Kyushu, causing major flooding and dozens of landslides and killing more than 70 people.