Torrential rain has devastated parts of Japan. In the western region of Chugoku, thousands of people have been ordered to evacuate after a major river burst its banks. Officials are having a tough time helping the survivors while maintaining anti-COVID measures.
One of the hardest-hit prefectures on Tuesday was Shimane where the largest river in the Chugoku Region overflowed flooding large areas. Authorities have issued evacuation orders to more than 3,000 households.
A local man said, "A factory on the ground floor of my house was submerged. The water was up to my waist. It was very scary."
In neighboring Hiroshima, the intense downpours triggered a mudslide that destroyed a home.
Rescue crews confirmed that a 55-year-old man was dead. They are scouring the area to locate his 84-year-old mother.
Areas previously hard hit won't see any relief soon. The search continues for more than a dozen missing people. More than 70 others have died.
But the coronavirus outbreak is making the situation even more difficult.
Local governments are sending about 500 officials and nurses to the Kyushu region to help deal with the disaster. But one of them was found to have been infected with the virus. The nurse was there to look after evacuees.
Kumamoto officials say they're testing about 400 people who might have been in contact with the nurse.
Kuma Village Mayor Matsutani Koichi said, "It's essential to recruit manpower from outside Kumamoto to promote reconstruction efforts. What we need are measures to make sure that everyone coming in is free of the virus."
The central government is still trying to get a full picture of the destruction. It estimates the current damage to the agriculture, forestry and fishery industries to be over 170 million dollars.