Waterfall-like rain eases in southwest Japan, but 28 dead, thousands of homes damaged
TOKYO — Most of the quarter-million people forced to flee massive flooding in southwest Japan were able to return home by Monday, but weather officials warned the danger had not fully passed from the record rainfall that left at least 28 people dead over the weekend.
Thousands of homes and hundreds of roads were damaged, and hundreds of landslides were reported. The military airlifted food by helicopter to stranded districts.
The rain “was like a waterfall,” Yoko Yoshika said in Yamaguchi prefecture (state). “It was horrible.”
Yoshika, wife of an award-winning Hagi-yaki style potter, said workers scrambled to carry out a bucket relay with plastic pails to get rid of the water flowing into their shop.
In Yame, a city of 69,000 in Fukuoka prefecture, 74 people in three separate areas were stranded by the flooding.
“Our region gets hit with heavy rain every year, but I have never experienced anything like this,” city employee Kumi Takesue said.
“Rice paddies and roads all became water so you couldn’t tell what was what,” she said, adding that she had to wade in knee-high water, even near her home, which was not as hard hit as other areas.
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