- Title: DIsaster response adapts to COVID-19 prevention amid deadly Japan flooding
- Date: 8th July 2020
- Summary: YATSUSHIRO, KUMAMOTO PREFECTURE, JAPAN (JULY 7, 2020) (REUTERS) EXTERIOR OF EVACUATION CENTER VARIOUS OF EVACUEES RESTING IN CARDBOARD PARTITION SHELTERS EVACUEE HOLDING SHOES WALKING BY CARDBOARD SHELTERS (SOUNDBITE) (Japanese) 48-YEAR-OLD NURSE AND EVACUEE, MISA MATSUDA, SAYING: "When I opened the front door to have my dog pee and poop, it was like a river. It was a view I have never seen before." VARIOUS OF MEALS FOR EVACUEES BOXES OF WATER AND TEA TABLE WITH WIFI FOR SMART PHONES AND ELECTRONIC SOCKETS FOR CHARGING VARIOUS OF EVACUEES WATCHING TV NEWS EVACUEES SITTING ON CHAIRS FACE MASKS AND ALCOHOL SPRAY ON TABLE THERMOMETERS ON TABLE SIGN ON WALL READING (Japanese): "PLEASE WEAR A MASK AND DISINFECT FROM TIME TO TIME" CHAIRS BLOCKED WITH BLUE TAPE TO AVOID CLOSE CONTACT AMONG PEOPLE (SOUNDBITE) (Japanese) 48-YEAR-OLD NURSE AND EVACUEE, MISA MATSUDA, SAYING: "The fact that there have been no coronavirus patients in this area proves that we are doing the best we can (for prevention)." VARIOUS OF EVACUEES LOOKING AT MASKS AND CLOTHES
- Embargoed: 22nd July 2020 06:34
- Keywords: COVID-19 Japan Kumamoto Prefecture Yatsushiro coronavirus evacuation center natural disaster rain torrential rain
- Location: YATSUSHIRO, KUMAMOTO PREFECTURE, JAPAN
- City: YATSUSHIRO, KUMAMOTO PREFECTURE, JAPAN
- Country: Japan
- Topics: Disaster/Accidents,Floods
- Reuters ID: LVA001CLY6FYF
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text: Boxes of surgical masks, bottles of disinfectant and a sign saying "Please wear a mask" mark the entrance to a public gym in Yatsushiro city, a shelter for residents fleeing devastating floods in southwestern Japan this week.
Elsewhere in the gym, cardboard partitions separate the 233 evacuees' sleeping areas and another sign instructs them to check their temperature each morning, then sterilize the thermometers. The measures show what a thorny issue it is for Japan to deal with natural disasters in the time of coronavirus.
Japanese authorities have been warning local officials for months to include coronavirus measures in their disaster preparations. Residents have been urged to seek shelter with friends or relatives if possible to avoid overcrowding evacuation centers. Kumamoto prefecture, where Yatsushiro is located, has had only 49 of Japan's more than 20,000 coronavirus cases, according to public broadcaster NHK.
Misa Matsuda, a 48-year-old nurse, accustomed to the annual floods in the region, had also intended to remain at home. But she was stunned early Monday (July 6) when she opened her door and found the river flowing just a few feet from her house.
"It was a view I have never seen before," she said.
Matsuda said she wasn't too concerned about coronavirus because basic prevention steps were being taken, but did worry residents would congregate to chat, creating just the sort of crowded conditions authorities say increase infection risk.
About 60 people have died or were feared dead from floods and landslides triggered by torrential rains that have pounded the southwestern island of Kyushu, including Kumamoto prefecture, since Saturday (July 4).
Extreme rain warnings were issued for parts of central Japan on Wednesday (July 8). Extreme weather disasters have become increasingly common in Japan recently. Last year, Typhoon Hagibis killed nearly 100 people, a year after more than 200 died in western Japan in the worst flooding in decades.
(Production: Kim Kyung-Hoon, Akiko Okamoto)
- Copyright Holder: REUTERS
- Usage Terms/Restrictions: None