The Yoshidagawa river collapses the bank and its water flows in Osaki, Miyagi Prefecture, around 5 a.m. on Oct. 13. (Provided by a resident of Shidayachi community)

OSAKI, Miyagi Prefecture--In a small agricultural community here, boats seemed a curious item for most farmers to have along with their tractors and other farming implements.

But after the riverbanks of the Yoshidagawa river overflowed from record rain brought by Typhoon No. 19, which made landfall on Oct. 12, the small watercraft are proving a wise investment.

Residents in a flooded part of Shidayachi community of the city's Kashimadai district here are making their way through the flooded streets and area in their boats as they embark on a massive clean-up effort.

A part of the district continues to be underwater even a week later because the floodwaters from the Yoshidagawa river have not receded.

Fortunately, there were no fatalities from the storm in the community, which had experienced many water-related disasters in the past.

The settlement was formerly a swamp until it was diked. Then, about 220 households moved in and established an agricultural settlement.

In September 1948, the Yoshidagawa river overflowed its banks during a typhoon. Major flooding occurred again in August 1986 during another typhoon.

The record rainfall brought by the latest typhoon collapsed the embankment about 6 kilometers upstream on the morning of Oct. 13. The floodwaters submerged the neighborhood up to a depth of 2 meters or more.

The flooded streets forced Kazuhiro Kikuchi, 59, a fourth-generation resident who lives there, to bring a visiting reporter into the area on his boat.

Kikuchi's house was inundated 50 centimeters above floor level.

After he experienced heavy rains in 1986 when he was 26, he rebuilt his house, raising the foundation by 1.8 meters.

“I expected that the floor level would be a little higher than the flood level,” Kikuchi said.

He carried bags of rice and other important items up to the second floor of his home, but the flood ruined his tatami mats.

In preparation the day before the typhoon came ashore, the farmers brought their tractors and combine harvesters onto the banks above the water to protect them in the event of a flood.

“This was my second time to have experienced a water disaster in my life,” Kikuchi said. “I expected this would come again some day.”

Another resident, Akihiro Itagaki, 52, sounded a gloomy note.

“I anticipated that this time would be all right because the riverbanks were well-prepared,” he said. “But it rained much more than we expected, so maybe we should all consider moving away from here as a whole."