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Victims of ’17 rains remembered

The Yomiuri Shimbun

Residents pray for victims of the 2017 rain disaster in Asakura, Fukuoka Prefecture, on Friday.

Jiji Press ASAKURA, Fukuoka (Jiji Press) — A memorial service was held in Asakura, Fukuoka Prefecture, on Friday to mourn the victims of a massive rain disaster that hit the northern Kyushu region two years ago.

The heavy downpours on July 5-6, 2017, left a total of 40 people dead in Fukuoka and neighboring Oita Prefecture, including 34 victims in Asakura alone. Two others remain unaccounted for.

“We have to live strong while keeping in mind those who lost their lives after advising us to evacuate immediately,” Mutsuto Ito, community leader in the city’s Masue district, said in a speech during the service.

“It’s our duty to rebuild a peaceful and nature-rich community as early as possible,” Ito stressed.

Participants in the service, including Fukuoka Gov. Hiroshi Ogawa, offered silent prayers and laid flowers.

As of the end of last month, a total of about 780 people in about 330 households still stayed in temporary housing facilities, mainly in Asakura and the nearby village of Toho.

However, authorities seem reluctant to extend the two-year limit for use of the temporary facilities, raising concerns about the lives of elderly people who may be forced to leave the facilities.

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