Deadly floods sweep southern Japan; six killed, many missing | world-news | Hindustan Times
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Deadly floods sweep southern Japan; six killed, many missing

Hundreds of thousands of people were ordered to flee as soldiers and emergency services battled to reach people cut off by torrents of swirling water or threatened by landslides.

world Updated: Jul 07, 2017 14:41 IST
Vehicles are buried in the mud following heavy flooding in Asakura, Fukuoka prefecture.
Vehicles are buried in the mud following heavy flooding in Asakura, Fukuoka prefecture.(AFP Photo)

Floods engulfing parts of southern Japan are reported to have killed at least six people and left hundreds stranded as the torrents swept away roads and houses and destroyed schools.

The Kyodo news agency reported on Thursday that six people had died, with around 20 people still missing after unprecedented torrential rain caused rivers to burst their banks swamping parts of Kyushu, the southernmost of Japan’s four main islands.

Hundreds of thousands of people were ordered to flee as soldiers and emergency services battled to reach people cut off by torrents of swirling water or threatened by landslides.

“We are in an extremely serious situation,” deputy prime minister Taro Aso said, warning of the danger of collapsing hillsides and adding “many people are still missing”.

A defence forces personnel crosses a river during rescue operations in Asakura. (AFP Photo)

More than 50 centimetres (20 inches) of rain fell over 12 hours on Wednesday, the meteorological agency said, with downpours expected to continue through Friday, as the region grapples with the aftermath of a typhoon that ravaged the country this week.

Authorities lifted “special” heavy rain warnings for the hardest hit prefectures of Fukuoka and Oita, although other warnings for rain, landslides and flooding remained in place.

Cows are seen in the mud following heavy flooding in Asakura. (AFP Photo)

Four people died in the city of Asakura in Fukuoka prefecture, Kyodo said, while a further two died in Hita in Oita prefecture. Hundreds were believed to be in areas cut off by damaged roads.

Japan is deploying 7,800 police, rescue personnel and troops in affected areas of Kyushu, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said, telling reporters that “there are about 20 people who are unaccounted for”.

Residents walk on a damaged road to a safer place following the flooding caused by heavy rain in Asakura. (AP Photo)

Those included a child reportedly carried off by a fast- flowing river and a couple who had not been seen since their house was swept away.