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3 southwest Japan cities order 800,000 to evacuate over rain, landslide danger

Cars are seen driving along a rain-washed road in the city of Kagoshima in southwestern Japan on the morning of July 3, 2019. (Mainichi/Soichiro Hayashi)
(Mainichi)
This radar image from the Japan Meteorological Agency website shows rain clouds over southern Kyushu, including Kagoshima Prefecture, as of 12:35 p.m. on July 3, 2019.
This radar image from the Japan Meteorological Agency website shows rain clouds over Japan, as of 10:25 a.m. on July 3, 2019.
(Mainichi)

Three Kagoshima Prefecture cities including the capital issued emergency evacuation orders for their entire populations totaling 798,170 people on July 3 as torrential rain continues to hammer the region, raising the risk of landslides.

The Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) held an emergency press conference on the morning of July 3, calling on people to evacuate quickly.

"Downpours often make it difficult to leave. Please be aware of the need to protect your own lives, and evacuate as soon as possible without waiting for a special warning to be issued."

The Kagoshima Municipal Government issued an emergency evacuation order for all of its 594,943 residents in 275,287 households due to torrential downpours expected to last through the late morning of July 4, and warned that life-threatening landslides are imminent. The southwestern Japan city specifically called on residents in areas close to cliffs, rivers and other dangerous areas to immediately flee to safer places.

The city opened another 90 evacuation centers on July 3 in addition to shelters it had already set up, and decided to provide food and other basic supplies to evacuees.

The Kirishima Municipal Government also issued an evacuation order to all of its 125,868 residents in 61,395 households at 11:10 a.m. According to the city, small-scale landslides have occurred in different parts of the city, forcing a total of 110 residents in 69 households to evacuate by 11:30 a.m.

The neighboring city of Aira issued an evacuation order to all of its 77,359 residents in 36,801 households soon after Kirishima, at 11:30 a.m.

The downpours forced Kyushu Railway Co. (JR Kyushu) on July 3 to halt its Kirishima limited express services between Miyazaki and Kagoshima-chuo stations; Ibusuki no Tamatebako between Kagoshima-chuo and Ibusuki stations; Isaburo/Shinpei between Kumamoto and Hitoyoshi stations and Kumamoto and Yoshimatsu stations; and Kawasemi Yamasemi between Kumamoto and Hitoyoshi stations. It also suspended or reduced local train services.

According to the JMA, rainfall until 4 a.m. on July 3 stood at 835 millimeters in the city of Ebino, Miyazaki Prefecture, also in southwestern Japan, and 631.5 millimeters in the city of Satsumasendai in neighboring Kagoshima Prefecture. Rainfall during the 24-hour period up to shortly past 9 a.m. came to 147 millimeters in the city of Kanoya, Kagoshima Prefecture, 143 millimeters in the city of Miyakonojo, Miyazaki Prefecture, and 116 millimeters in Ebino.

(Japanese original by Keitaro Kurosawa, Yoshihito Asano and Tadashi Sano, Kyushu News Department; Takaharu Nishi and Ran Kanno, Kagoshima Bureau; and Mayumi Nobuta, Tokyo Science & Environment News Department)

Torrential rain hits an area near Kagoshima-chuo Station in the city of Kagoshima, Kagoshima Prefecture, in this photo taken on the morning of July 3, 2019. (Mainichi/Ran Kanno)

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