In the torrential rain that inundated rivers and caused mudslides across a wide swath of the country over the past two weeks, most of the victims were elderly people, including 14 residents at a care home for the elderly in Kumamoto Prefecture who were drowned when the facility was quickly engulfed by floodwaters from the Kuma River.

The elderly population similarly accounted for a large portion of the casualties in past disasters caused by extreme weather, including the torrential rain that swept across western Japan and killed more than 200 people in 2018. Many welfare facilities for elderly residents are built on locations deemed at risk of flooding and mudslides. We must learn from these disasters to ensure that the most vulnerable people will be safely evacuated.

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