In the latest turn of the floods that have hit East Japan, the city of Joso has been hit by “unprecedented” rainfall. This has so far cause one death, twelve injuries and at least thousands of homes have been forced to evacuate.
Joso, which is north of Japanese capital Tokyo in the prefecture of Ibaraci, was hit by a wall of water when the Kinugawa river nearby burst its banks. This occurred just days after the tropical storm Typhoon Eatu caused 2 feet of rain to pour over Japan.
Speaking from the Japan Meteorological Agency, chief forecaster Takuya Deshimaru stated that “These heavy rains are unprecedented. We can say this is an abnormal situation and there is imminent serious danger,”. The rains and high winds, some reaching up to 125 km/h have caused widespread devastation and injuries in Japan, and have also led to increased risks of land and mudslides in the prefecture.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe assured citizens in Japan that the authorities were doing all they possibly could to reduce the effect the typhoon has had. In a statement, he said that the government was putting its “highest priority on people’s lives”.
An additional worry is what the typhoon and floods will do to the already delicate situation in Fukushima, which suffered a nuclear reactor explosion in 2011 following damage by a tsunami. A Tokyo Electric Power (TEPCO) spokesperson has said that the rainfall at the site has led to contaminated water flowing into the ocean, following the drainage pumps at the reactor overflowing.
The floods are said to be worsened by mountains funnelling the rainwater down to the towns and cities in the valleys below them.