HIROSHIMA – The death toll keeps rising by the in Hiroshima Prefecture and seven other prefectures in the south of Japan. More than two million people have been forced to evacuate after record rainfalls have inundated the area.
The Japan Meteorological Agency reported that 14.3 inches of rain had fallen within a period of two hours in the city of Uwajima. That is about 1.5 times the city’s average rainfall for the entire month of July. The town of Motoyama received 23 inches of rain within a 24-hour period this past weekend. The agency called the situation one of extreme danger.
This crisis is like a call to respond in a tangible way to show Christ’s love to the victims
NPR in Tokyo reported that 93 locations across the southwest reported record rainfall over a 72-hour period. Japan’s Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has mobilized 54,000 military and rescue personnel to conduct search and rescue operations.
The abundance of rain in the region has caused massive mudslides that have destroyed hundreds of buildings and homes and have closed roads and bridges. Operations to remove water using pumper trucks are expected to take as long as two weeks.
As reports continue to filter in, the death toll has risen to 155. Many others are reported as missing. Some people were swept away by the surging waters and others were buried in massive landslides.
The flooding in the Okayama Prefecture drove over a thousand people to their rooftops where they waited for rescue helicopters.
It may be several days before NGO relief efforts can be fully mounted. In the interim, Asian Access is equipping Japanese Christians to respond. Takeshi Takazawa, Asian Access’s Vice President for Strategic Engagement and National Director for Japan, spoke to the crisis, saying, “It is sad, and it is a crisis. But this crisis is almost like a call to respond in a tangible way to show Christ’s love to the victims.”
He continued, “It’s getting difficult to find out all the information, but each time we have a disaster, the Japanese Church is getting more equipped [and] more prepared. When the time comes, we will come alongside of victims’ homes and help them to rebuild the community. This is not a sprint. It’s a marathon. After the water goes down, it will take a long time to recover.”
Asian Access has requested prayer support for the victims of the flooding and for the ministry and recovery teams they deploy to them.
- Mission Network News, Record rainfall submerges Japan
- Asian Access, Deadly flooding hits SW Japan following historic rainfall
- NHK World, At least 85 dead in floods, landslides
- BBC News, Japan floods: ‘Extreme danger’ amid record rainfall
- NPR, More Than 100 Dead In Japan Amid ‘Historic’ Rainfall, Landslide
- CBN News, Death Toll Exceeds 100 After Heavy Rainfall Slams Japan