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JMA warns of heavy rain for northern Kyushu until Aug. 30 evening

Medical personnel are taken to Juntendo Hospital in the Saga Prefecture town of Omachi on a Maritime Self-Defense Force inflatable boat on Aug. 29, 2019, after areas around the hospital were flooded. (Mainichi/Yoshihito Asano)

The Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) has warned that more extremely heavy rain could hit northern Kyushu, which has recently been struck by record-breaking levels of precipitation, until the evening of Aug. 30.

The disaster that has struck the region has left three people dead in the western Japan prefectures of Saga and Fukuoka, one unconscious and another missing.

At around 4:30 a.m. on Aug. 29, a woman in her 90s was found covered with mud in the living room on the first floor of her home in the city of Takeo. She was subsequently pronounced dead.

Two other people died in Saga and Fukuoka prefectures on Aug. 28 when the JMA issued an emergency warning for heavy rain. A woman in her 70s who was rescued from a car in the city of Saga remains unconscious while a woman in her 50s living in Takeo cannot be contacted.

A total of 215 patients were stranded at Juntendo Hospital in the Saga Prefecture town of Omachi as of the morning of Aug. 29 because areas around the institution have been flooded. Of the patients, 110 are inpatients and 96 are bed-ridden.

Since it is difficult to transfer those who need artificial respiration from the hospital, relief workers, including those from the Maritime Self-Defense Force (MSDF), are transporting relief supplies and medical personnel to the institution by boat.

Water that has flooded the neighborhood contains oil that leaked from a nearby iron plant. The MSDF and the local office of the Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism Minister are directing the water into the nearby Rokkaku River after removing oil from it.

The amount of rain that fell from the predawn hours of Aug. 26 to the morning of Aug. 29 was 625.5 millimeters in the Nagasaki Prefecture city of Hirado and 531.5 millimeters in the Saga Prefecture city of Karatsu.

Rain water began to flow into JR Orio Station in Kitakyushu's Yahatanishi Ward, flooding an area around the ticket gates. There are reports that some residences were flooded in the Yamaguchi Prefecture city of Shimonoseki, western Honshu, and the municipal government is trying to confirm the information.

The heavy rain has wreaked havoc on transportation systems in the area. Kyushu Railway Co. cancelled some limited express trains between Fukuoka's Hakata Station and Nagasaki Station. Some expressway buses between Fukuoka and Nagasaki were also cancelled.

The Nagasaki Expressway's Saga-bound lanes are closed between Takeo-Kitagata and Ureshino interchanges because part of the road rose up because of the rain.

According to the JMA, a seasonal rain front situated above the Tsushima Strait is moving south over Kyushu, destabilizing atmospheric conditions in northern Kyushu.

The forecasted amount of rain over a 24-hour period up to noon on Aug. 30 is up to 150 millimeters in Kumamoto Prefecture and 100 millimeters in Fukuoka, Saga, Nagasaki and Oita prefectures.

(Japanese original by Kenta Somatani, Kyushu News Department, and Shizuka Takebayashi and Mio Ikeda, Saga Bureau)

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