Following Typhoon Etau that crossed central Japan on Wednesday, Jonso, a town 50km northeast of Tokyo – was hit with raging floodwaters today, causing the government to issue a mass evacuation order.
After two straight days of heavy rain, the Kinugawa River broke though a flood barrier, sending tsunami-like waves crashing down on the village.
The Japan Meteorological Agency issued an evacuation notice to the 65,000 person town, whilst also warning occupants in the nearby villages of Tochigi and Ibaraki to be vigilant against similar levels of mudslides.
“This is a scale of downpour that we have not experienced before. Grave danger could be imminent,” forecaster Takuya Deshimaru told an emergency press conference.
Authorities in Tochigi have ordered the evacuation of 90,000 residents and advised another 116,000 to leave their homes to find safety.
Prime minister Shinzo Abe said the government was on high alert following the extreme weather conditions.
“The government will stand united and do its best to deal with the disaster … by putting its highest priority on people’s lives,” he told local media.
Dramatic rescue scenes have been captured of emergency response teams, risking their lives to pluck desperate citizens off roof tops surrounded by swelling waters.
So far there have been no casualties, and just 12 sustaining injuries after being knocked by strong winds and rising tides.
The extreme weather conditions are expected to continue throughout the week.