• Kyodo

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The Meteorological Agency issued a heavy rain warning for parts of southwestern Japan on Saturday, leading local authorities to direct some 245,000 residents to take immediate action to stay safe under the highest level alert.

The warning covers cities including Hitoyoshi in Kumamoto Prefecture, Ebino in Miyazaki Prefecture and Satsumasendai in Kagoshima Prefecture. Local officials instructed those who find it difficult to take shelter safely to move to places such as roof tops and to stay away from rivers and hills. There are no reports of injuries or casualties so far.

The level 5 alert is designated for those who face imminent danger and are no longer able to evacuate.

“Residents need to be highly cautious over mudslides and river overflow” in Kagoshima in particular, an official at the agency said at a news conference.

Torrential rain triggered a large mudslide in the city of Atami, Shizuoka Prefecture, a week ago, leaving nine people dead. Rescuers continue to search for 20 people who are still missing.

In Kagoshima Prefecture, around 10 families were stranded as roads collapsed. Approximately 100 evacuation centers were set up in the prefecture.

Satsuma had seen precipitation of 96.5 millimeters per hour, a record hourly rainfall for the town, according to the agency. Ebino in Miyazaki Prefecture saw 83.5 mm of rainfall per hour.

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