Japan is experiencing what could be one of the worst weather-related disasters in its history, following the heaviest rainfall the country has experienced for decades.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe warned of a “race against time” to rescue flood victims on Sunday, as emergency response teams in the country’s western regions search for at least 60 missing, after floods and landslides caused by torrential rains killed over 100 people.
Since the downpours started Thursday, evacuations had been ordered for up to 5.9 million people in 19 prefectures, according to The Japan Times, but this has been scaled back to 2 million since the weekend. The Fire and Disaster Management Agency is reported to have counted over 30,000 people accommodated in temporary evacuation centres as of Sunday.
Some of the affected areas include Kyoto, Yamaguchi, Ehime, Fukuoka, Kagoshima, Hyogo, Shiga, Gifu, Kochi and Saga, with the Hiroshima and Okayama Prefectures among the hardest hit.
It’s the worst weather-related disaster in the country since 2011, when nearly 100 people were killed by two typhoons in August and September.
The Times reports over 1,000 people in Okayama found themselves trapped on rooftops after the Oda River burst, with many rescued by helicopter or boat. It’s hard to imagine this happening to you, but photographs taken of the affected areas bring these tragic events a little closer to home.