Japan evacuates 92,200 households as torrential rains pound the area

Japan evacuates 92,200 households as torrential rains pound the area
© MARTIN BUREAU/AFP via Getty Images

Japan is evacuating tens of thousands of residents in the southern island of Kyushu amid torrential flooding.

Fifteen people are already feared dead and nine are missing, Reuters reported, citing local media outlets. Authorities have already told 92,200 households in the prefectures of Kumamoto and Kagoshima to leave amid concerns of rising flood waters and landslides. 

“The heavy rainfall is likely to continue until Sunday, and people in the area are required to be on maximum alert,” Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said, saying he could activate as many as 10,000 soldiers to join rescue operations. 

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Several homes have been cut off and one bridge was washed away after the Kuma River flooded. 

The floods and landslides have ravaged the region, leading Japan’s Meteorological Agency to initially post its highest level of alert, though the alarm was later downgraded.

This isn't the first time heavy rains have sparked mass evacuations in the country; in July 2018, more than 2 million people were forced to leave their homes after up to 70 inches of rain led to some of Japan's worst flooding on record, according to the Washington Post.