Nonstop rain in southwest Japan has caused rivers to overflow and widespread flooding. 400,000 people were evacuated from their homes in the Fukuoka and Oita prefectures.

Photo Credit: Reuters/Channel 2 News

11 people, including children, are missing and about 400,000 others were evacuated from their homes on Thursday morning due to heavy rains in southwest Japan, which began on Wednesday without warning and resulted in widespread flooding.

The Fukuoka area was hit with 774 millimeters of rain in only nine hours, almost 2.2 millimeters more than the amount of average seasonal rainfall in the area. 7,500 rescue workers, police officers, firefighters and soldiers from Japan’s army are currently in the area in order to help the residents. The forces are trying to locate people who are trapped and rescue them. 40 helicopters are prepared to start to assist the rescue workers once the weather conditions improve.

Photo Credit: Reuters/Channel 2 News

“There are many reports about people whose safety cannot be confirmed. For example, a report about a child who was seen being ‘swept away by the river’ or ‘my house was swept away and I can’t reach my parents,’” Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said.

The Fukuoka and Oita prefectures on the Japanese island of Kyushu were hit the hardest by the heavy rains. The residents of the areas spent the night in the shelters that were established by the government after they were suddenly forced out of their homes.