Reporto “Murderous Downpour” Roads become rivers, mudslides swallow houses and people. …… Walking in the City of Despair | FRIDAY DIGITAL

Reporto “Murderous Downpour” Roads become rivers, mudslides swallow houses and people. …… Walking in the City of Despair

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Residents speechless in front of a town that has been transformed by a mudslide

How terrifying are the recurring linear precipitation zones?

Since late June, Kyushu has been hit by record-breaking rainfall, and on July 8, a linear precipitation zone formed in eastern Shimane Prefecture. Izumo-taisha shrine was inundated, causing extensive damage. Two days later, another linear precipitation event occurred in Kyushu. On the news, graphs showing rainfall extended abnormally high. The Japan Meteorological Agency called for “action to save lives” at a press conference.

A house that was hit by a mudslide and wrecked.

Unable to stand still, I drove to the site. However, the roads were flooded everywhere, and I had to make detours and detours again. The car radio was saying , “A landslide has occurred in Karatsu City, Saga Prefecture. A mudslide occurred in Tanushimaru-cho, Kurume City, and seven people were missing.

‘It’s flooded up ahead, turn back! It’s no good over there either. ……

The residents were struggling to get around. We felt as if we were wandering in a maze. We entered Tanushimaru Town, Kurume City, much later than the estimated arrival time on the car navigation system. When we came to a clearer road, we could see the footprints of a mudslide across the mountain.

Since we could no longer use the car, we decided to continue on foot. After a short walk, a river came into view, but it was already flooded and the road had disappeared under the water. We had no choice but to make a large detour.

Koishiwara River flooded. Widespread flooding of houses and fields seen beyond the bridge (Moribe, Otorai-cho, Mitsui County, Fukuoka Prefecture).

I was lost for words when I entered a narrow alley from the road in front of the community center in the Sanmyouji district. A massive mudslide had swept down the slope of the mountain side. Seven houses were damaged. Living rooms and entrances were gutted and completely exposed. Driftwood from the stream was pinned against the houses, and cars that had been swept away were riding up on the eaves of the houses. Yards and fields were covered with a huge amount of earth and sand.

A middle-aged man walked past me with a downcast look on his face. He was headed straight for a house that had been wrecked by several pieces of driftwood. I could think of no words to say.

A homeowner heading toward his home, which had been impaled by a massive mudslide. Her back was filled with sadness and regret.

A housewife in her 40s described her night of terror.

I was scared because there was a lot of thunder since dawn. I can’t describe the horror of the rain that started pouring down afterwards. …… I was even more astonished when I went outside in the morning. The road had turned into a river. My house was flooded under the floor, and my whole family was stunned, not knowing what to do.

A river close to where the massive mudslide occurred overflowed. Part of the main road had turned into a river. The current was quite fast and dangerous.

A housewife in her 60s lamented, “I don’t remember such heavy rain.

I’ve been married here for 50 years, and I’ve never experienced flooding. And I’ve never experienced a mudslide. …… My daughter is worried because she can’t reach her friends. They lived in the area where the mudslide washed away their house.”

A house that was destroyed by a mudslide that entered the ground floor and messed up the house

The first elderly man squeezed out the words, ” I can’t believe it …….

The water pipes must have been hit, or the water stopped running. I may not be able to live here anymore. I’m just at a loss.

Later, I heard the news that 17 of the 27 residents of 12 households in Takeno (Sanmyouji area), Tanushimaru-cho, Kurume City, had been confirmed safe, and I felt a little relieved.

However, as of the 11th, when I left the area, five deaths had been confirmed in Fukuoka and one in Saga. Three people were missing in Saga and Oita. The danger of landslides due to record rainfall has also increased greatly.

On the following day, a linear precipitation zone formed in Ishikawa and Toyama. Thunder rumbled and heavy rain began to fall. The rainfall was so strong that it was frightening. A landslide occurred in Nanto City, Toyama Prefecture, and the body of a 65-year-old city council member was found.

Once again, we were reminded of the powerlessness of human beings in the face of natural disasters.

Firefighters searching for missing persons at the site of a major mudslide
This is the Zendoji neighborhood of Kurume City. The entire parking lot was flooded, and the owner of a stuck car was at a loss.
A passenger car forcing its way through a partially flooded road. I’m worried about breakdowns after this. ……
  • Photography and text Junpei Kota

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