Abe cancels visit as storm causes floods and landslides in Kyushu

Workers remove a section of roof from the roadside, blown over by strong winds generated by Typhoon Nanmadol in the city of Kumamoto on Kyushu island on July 4, 2017. Typhoon Nanmadol has brought wind and rain to much of southern Japan. Source: (AFP/Scanpix)

Continuing heavy rain and floods in the south of Japan are forcing Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to cancel his one-day visit to Estonia planned for Tuesday, the Japanese embassy announced.

Typhoon Nanmadol hit the southernmost region of Japan on Wednesday last week. Heavy rain caused landslides and floods, damaging roads, railways, and residential areas. Hundreds of people were cut off, and an evacuation advisory issued for more than 20,000 people.

The Japanese embassy announced that a natural disaster which hit the Kyushu island in Japan is the reason for the cancellation of Abe's one day visit to Estonia, which was also scheduled to include a press conference and briefing on Tuesday.

Altogether 20 people have died as a result of the heavy rains and floods in the southern part of Japan, officials said on Sunday evening.

Rivers bursting their banks and mudflows have caused extensive destruction on Kyushu island, the southernmost of Japan's four main islands. Roads, houses and schools have been destroyed as a result of the disaster.

According to AFP the death toll has risen to 20 and approximately 250 people are cut off from the world, while 27 could not be reached. Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said that five people were in a critical condition.

Thousands on people have been evacuated from the area.

Rescue helicopters have been unable to fly because of the downpours. Approximately 22 centimeters of rain in the past 72-hour period has been recorded to have poured down in Fukuoka, a city located on the island.

Editor: Dario Cavegn

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