[QODLink]
Asia-Pacific
Japan island ravaged by deadly floods
Floods kill at least 20 in southwestern Japan as tens of thousands ordered to evacuate island of Kyushu.
Last Modified: 12 Jul 2012 12:41

The heaviest rainfall on record in Japan's southwestern island of Kyushu has left at least 20 people dead, 20 missing, and forced 50,000 people to evacuate, officials and reports said.

Thursday's reports came as emergency workers in Kumamoto prefecture responded to multiple reports of mudslides swallowing houses and people being trapped, with access roads blocked by mud or gushing water, officials said.

"Particularly in Kumamoto and Oita prefectures, we are seeing the heaviest rain that [the region] has ever experienced," the Japan Meteorological Agency said.

Troops have been deployed as almost 100mm of rain has fallen in a hour in some areas. Kumamoto experienced 50cm of rainfall in less than 24 hours.

The local government has received reports of at least 19 missing people, many of them swept away by swollen rivers or going missing after their homes were destroyed.

"Unfortunately, we believe the numbers [of dead and missing] will rise as we get more and more information from the field," a spokesman told the ADP news agency.

Evacuation orders

The national weather agency has said there is a risk of tornadoes as winds pick up and the weather gets worse.

"We may get more rain later and we are increasing our alert level for rivers overflowing," another official said.

In neighbouring Iota prefecture, a man in his seventies died after being swept into a raging river, while another man remained missing.

Yoshihiko Noda, the prime minister, promised full relief efforts to help affected residents.

"I have heard that this is a record for heavy rainfall. We will take effective measures," he said in a legislative session.

Self Defence Force troops have been deployed to the region for disaster relief efforts at the request of local governors.

In Kumamoto prefecture more than 17,000 households had been ordered to evacuate, with 5,000 more advised to seek shelter elsewhere.

Oita authorities issued evacuation orders to nearly 15,000 people and advised a further 10,000 to leave.

In all, more than 50,000 people in Oita and Kumamoto received evacuation orders, according to local media.

338

Source:
Al Jazeera and agencies
Topics in this article
People
Country
City
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
Your chance to be an investigative journalist in Al Jazeera’s new interactive game.
An innovative rehabilitation programme offers Danish fighters in Syria an escape route and help without prosecution.
Street tension between radical Muslims and Holland's hard right rises, as Islamic State anxiety grows.
Take an immersive look at the challenges facing the war-torn country as US troops begin their withdrawal.
Featured
Private citizens take initiative to help 'irregular' migrants, accusing governments of excessive focus on security.
Indonesia's cassava plantations are being killed by mealybugs, and thousands of wasps will be released to stop them.
Violence in Ain al-Arab has prompted many Kurdish Syrians to flee to Turkey, but others are returning to battle ISIL.
Unelected representatives quietly iron out logistics of massive TPP and TTIP deals among US, Europe, and Asia-Pacific.
Led by students concerned for their future with 'nothing to lose', it remains to be seen who will blink first.