July 8 (UPI) -- The death toll continued to rise Wednesday on the island of Kyushu in southwestern Japan as tens of thousands of workers continued rescue and recovery efforts after flooding downpours inundated the region.
As of Wednesday afternoon, local time, The New York Times reported that at least 58 people had been confirmed dead across the country, many of whom perished on Kyushu Island. Videos and photos of the flood-ravaged region showed widespread devastation.
Kyushu Island is Japan's third-largest and home to more than 12 million people. Approximately 3 million of those residents were advised to evacuate.
Space is limited in evacuation centers due to COVID-19 social distancing regulations. While some residents were forced to seek shelter in alternate locations, others opted to register with a shelter but remained in their vehicles awaiting rescue, according to The Japan Times.
River levels have been rising across the Kumamoto region, and numerous reporting stations have measured rivers at "flood risk levels." Officials are urging residents to remain vigilant as the risk for flooding remains high, according to NHK.
The Kuma River, which flows through the Kumamoto prefecture and Kuma Village, rose well above its banks on Saturday, washing away at least one bridge and cutting off citizens from rescue crews and causing widespread power outages.
The river also flooded the Senja Nursing Home located near its edge, killing a total of 14 residents who were stranded on the lowest level.
The Chikugo River in Fukuoka prefecture has also flooded a large residential area.
The mayor of Kumamoto urged residents on Twitter Tuesday to heed evacuation orders and to be prepared with the risk of flooding likely to continue.
A front is forecast to remain over Japan through at least the start of the weekend. As several storms move along a front, more heavy rain will soak the flood-stricken country.
With rainfall totals of up to 12 inches expected in parts of southwestern Japan, the risk for additional flooding, mudslides and evacuation orders will be likely through Saturday.
The stagnant weather pattern that has led to the devastation in western Japan has been in place since the end of June. The largely stationary front that brings rounds of heavy rain to parts of eastern China during the wet season has moved to the north in recent weeks.