Authorities have downgraded the level five alert (the highest of a five-level warning system) issued in a number of areas of Kyushu as evacuations continue amid flooding and landslides caused by heavy rains on Saturday, July 4. The government had initially issued alerts in Amakusa, Hitoyoshi, and Yatsushiro in Kumamoto prefecture and Akune and Isa in Kagoshima prefecture; however, these were downgraded to level three by noon (local time) on Saturday. Authorities have continued to warn of the potential for further flooding along the Kuma River, which had burst its banks in a number of locations, including Amakusa. A number of neighborhoods in Hitoyoshi (Kumamoto prefecture) were also flooded.
Authorities have ordered the evacuation of some 92,200 households in the Kumamoto and Kagoshima due to inclement conditions, and have warned that heavy rains will continue into Sunday, July 5. In Kuma (Kumamoto prefecture), at least 15 people were killed when rising floodwaters inundated a care home. At least nine others are believed to be missing. The Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) continues to maintain a red alert (second-highest on a three-point scale) for heavy rains in Kumamoto prefecture, in addition to a yellow alert (the first on a three-point scale) in Kagoshima prefecture. A number of bridges in the region have been washed away, and the Japanese Self Defense Forces (JSDF) have been deployed to aid in disaster relief. Bullet train services were initially suspended; however, these were resumed from 09:30 on Saturday.
Heavy rain is expected to affect most of Japan through Sunday, with the worst weather concentrated in the west of the country. Disruptions to travel and utilities are to be anticipated in the coming days as a result of the adverse weather.
Individuals in the affected areas are advised to monitor local weather reports, anticipate transportation disruptions, avoid areas directly affected by flooding, confirm road conditions before setting out, and adhere to instructions issued by local authorities. Avoid walking or driving through floodwaters.
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