4 years on, victims of rain disaster mourned

The Yomiuri Shimbun
An attendee offers a prayer at a ceremony to mourn the victims of a rain disaster in Kurashiki, Okayama Prefecture, on Wednesday.

OKAYAMA / HIROSHIMA (Jiji Press) — Ceremonies were held in western Japan on Wednesday to mourn the victims of a deadly rain disaster that occurred four years ago.

Wednesday marked the fourth anniversary of the issuing of the first in a series of special heavy rain warnings in the worst rain disaster in the Heisei era (1989-2019). The disaster, in which torrential rains caused floods and landslides, left over 300 people dead, including those who died due to indirect causes, in 14 of 47 prefectures.

In the Mabi district in Kurashiki, Okayama Prefecture, where the disaster claimed 75 lives, about 60 people, including bereaved kin and local residents, attended a memorial service.

Representing the bereaved families, Yorio Hiramatsu, 69, made a speech mourning the victims, including his mother, who died in the disaster at the age of 87. “I regret that I should have encouraged her to evacuate early,” he said.

A memorial ceremony in Aki Ward in the city of Hiroshima, where the disaster killed 19 people, brought together more than 60 people.

Both ceremonies were held with limited numbers of participants to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus.

In Hiroshima, Okayama and Ehime prefectures, hit especially hard by the disaster, a total of 279 lives were claimed, and 121 people were still living in temporary housing as of the end of last month.