North Japan hit by heavy rains, 200,000 urged to evacuate

Bridges collapsed and rivers burst their banks as heavy rain lashed northern Japan on Thursday, with 200,000 residents urged to evacuate as authorities warned of dangerous flooding.

Heavy downpours hit the northeastern and central regions from Wednesday night to Thursday morning, with local authorities in ­Yamagata saying extensive flooding had occurred due to the Mogami ­River bursting its banks.

Japan’s Fire and Disaster Management Agency said around 30,000 people in Yamagata were urged to evacuate their homes

by Wednesday night.

Houses were flooded, cars submerged, roads inundated and water supplies were cut off in some of the affected towns and cities, Yamagata and Niigata-based authorities said, as reported by local media.

TV footage showed a muddy mass of broken trees swept into a mountainous residential area by the downpours, which broke records in some areas.

Two people have been reported missing, top government spokesperson Hirokazu Matsuno told reporters.

Authorities have warned of an increased risk of landslides and floods.