2,000 People at Shelters 2 Weeks after Downpours in Kumamoto

Society Lifestyle

Kuma, Kumamoto Pref., July 18 (Jiji Press)--About 2,000 people are living in shelters set up in Kumamoto Prefecture as of Saturday, about two weeks after the southwestern Japan prefecture sustained widespread damage due to flooding and landslides caused by torrential rains.

The disasters destroyed or partially damaged 592 houses in the prefecture, part of the Kyushu region, and 5,525 houses were inundated, while 69 households remain isolated.

According to the Fire and Disaster Management Agency, 71 people have been confirmed dead in Kyushu from the rain disasters--65 in Kumamoto, two each in Fukuoka and Oita prefectures, and one each in Nagasaki and Kagoshima prefectures. Six people remain unaccounted for.

Of the victims in Kumamoto, 25 were in the village of Kuma. At a makeshift municipal office of the village built at a local park, about 80 people, including village officials and aid personnel from other prefectures, offered a silent prayer for the victims at 8:30 a.m. Saturday (11:30 Friday GMT).

“I want to help residents feel safe, even if only slightly, by advancing reconstruction work,” Kuma Mayor Koichi Matsutani said.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press