As the unprecedented downpours that began last week in Japan’s southwestern island of Kyushu have finally begun to subside, the death toll has risen to 28. Two out of six people who were still missing in Fukuoka and Kumamoto Prefectures have been found dead by police and firefighters. The rainfall that began on Wednesday, July 11th, rapidly led to widespread flooding and landslides, destroying homes and taking the lives of people trapped inside, as well as prompting the government to call for tens of thousands of people to evacuate.
While Japan’s Self-Defense Troops airlifted food and water supplies to several thousand still cut off in Yame, Fukuoka Prefecture over the weekend, residents from other areas began returning home on Monday and engaging in cleanup efforts. Masatatsu Minoda, an official from Kumamoto Prefecture, said they are quickly trying to clear the roads of mud and obstructing rubble. Other locals now must shovel mud and debris out of their homes, and try to salvage what they can. The Japan Meteorological Agency continues to warn that the rains could return with little warning, and that further landslides could continue, so workers and volunteers remain on alert to halt their efforts at any time.
Kyushu Electric Power Co. reports that there are roughly 2,600 homes still without electricity, while those in remote villages remain cut off from supplies and are awaiting help from emergency teams. SDF troops and rescue divers continue to search rivers and flooded areas for bodies of victims, with the two latest being found on Monday.