July 3 (UPI) -- Residents of southwestern Japanese cities Kagoshima, Kirishima and Aira have been ordered to evacuate, warned of life-threatening landslides caused by torrential rains, the cities said Wednesday.
The order affects some 790,000 people at 370,000 households across southwestern Japan, NHK World reported.
Kagoshima issued the evacuation order to its roughly 606,800 citizens, as heavy rain is expected to persist until Thursday morning.
"There is an imminent danger of landslide disasters and river floods, which are potentially life-threatening," the city said in the order. "For those living in dangerous areas, such as near a cliff or river, please evacuate at once."
The order informs residents to seek shelter prepared by their local government. On Monday, the city had announced it would open evacuation centers.
"Disaster might occur suddenly," Aira said. "Please, [seek] early refuge. When refuge is dangerous, please urgently evacuate to [a] safe place nearby."
Kyushu island, where Kagoshima, Aira and Kirishima are located, has received nearly 3 feet of rain since last week and is expected to continue to be rained upon at a rate of 3 inches per hour until Thursday, weather officials said.
Last July, some 20 people on Kyushu island died due to flooding and landslides, which were caused by torrential rainfall.