Victims of torrential rains in Japan’s Kyushu region remembered, 2 years after tragedy

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Shizuko Indo lays flowers Monday at the site where the Senjuen nursing home used to stand, in the village of Kuma in Kumamoto Prefecture.

KUMAMOTO — Monday marked the second anniversary of the torrential rains in the Kyushu region that killed 79 people and left two others missing.

In Kumamoto Prefecture, where 67 people lost their lives and two others remain missing, bereaved families and local residents offered prayers for the departed amid occasional heavy rain linked to Typhoon No. 4.

Shizuko Indo of Hitoyoshi in the prefecture lost her 88-year-old aunt, Miyoko Teratoko, when the Senjuen nursing home in the village of Kuma in the prefecture was hit by flooding from the swollen Kuma River, which claimed 14 lives.

Indo, 66, prayed for her aunt at the site where the facility once stood. The building was demolished in October, so there were no tables to place flowers for this year’s anniversary.

“Not having a place to properly lay flowers hits me really hard,” Indo said, after placing a bouquet on the ground. “‘It’s sad,’ I said to my aunt. I miss her so much.”

Planning is underway to build a flood-mitigation dam along a branch of the river in the prefecture. Some 2,618 people are still living in temporary housing and the reconstruction of houses is underway.