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100,000 People Flee Homes As "Unprecedented" Floods Hit Japan

Buildings were swept away as heavy rains hit the northern city of Joso, causing the Kinugawa River to breach its banks.

Posted on September 10, 2015, at 9:33 a.m. ET

Heavy rainfall has led to major flooding in central Japan, causing tens of thousands of people to flee their homes, while dozens more were stranded, and entire buildings were swept away.

A hotel building falls into the floodwaters at Nikko mountain resort in Tochigi prefecture, north of Tokyo.
Jiji Press / AFP / Getty Images

A hotel building falls into the floodwaters at Nikko mountain resort in Tochigi prefecture, north of Tokyo.

The city of Joso, a little more than 30 miles north of Tokyo in Ibaraki prefecture, was among the worst-affected places. The rains caused the Kinugawa River to flood, and a wall of water to roll through the city's streets.

Jiji Press / AFP / Getty Images

Tochigi, Ibaraki, and Fukushima prefectures were also affected. Authorities called in Japanese Ground Self-Defense Force helicopter teams to rescue people stranded on rooftops, the BBC reported.

Jiji Press / AFP / Getty Images

Some 40 people had been lifted from their homes by Thursday evening, police in Ibaraki prefecture said, with more still awaiting rescue, Kyodo News Agency reported.

Kyodo / Reuters
Kyodo Kyodo / Reuters

Some 100,000 people are estimated to have been forced from their homes and 17 were injured, according to Reuters.

Kyodo / Reuters
Issei Kato / Reuters

The rains came after a tropical storm, with winds gusting up to 78mph, lashed central Aichi prefecture on Wednesday, the BBC reported.

Jiji Press / AFP / Getty Images

Takuya Deshimaru, chief forecaster at the Japan Meteorological Agency, said the rains were "unprecedented" for the region, adding: "We can say this is an abnormal situation and there is imminent serious danger."

Issei Kato / Reuters

Japanese prime minister Shinzo Abe told reporters in Tokyo: "The government will work as one to prioritize the safety of the people and do our best to prevent any further disaster," Reuters reported.

Issei Kato / Reuters