[QODLink]
Asia-Pacific
Clean-up operation begins after Japan floods
Residents together with volunteers and local government officials start shifting mud and debris in Kyushu island.
Last Modified: 16 Jul 2012 12:04

A major clean-up is under way on Japan's southern island of Kyushu after days of record rainfall caused floods and landslides, as the military joined residents working to shift mud and debris.

Television footage on Monday showed residents together with volunteers and local government officials shovelling mud and moving damaged furniture from their homes, while mechanical diggers removed fallen trees and debris from the roads.

Four days of torrential rainfall wrought devastation in the southwestern Japanese island, with rivers bursting their banks, and muddy water destroying or inundating houses.

Electricity remained cut off to some 2,600 houses in northern Kyushu, according to Kyushu Electric Power Company, while local governments sent emergency response teams to villagers isolated by landslides.

Troops were called in on Sunday to airlift supplies to those cut off, while local authorities dispatched rescue helicopters to ferry the elderly to hospital.

The death toll from landslides and floods has risen to 26, with rescuers on the island of Kyushu still searching for six missing people.

Television footage showed rescue divers searching a river, while troops looking for bodies scoured flooded rice fields.

"We are stepping up efforts to remove rubble as roads remain covered with mud at many points," Masatatsu Minoda, an official from Kyushu's Kumamoto prefecture, said.

'Rains eased'

"Workers are engaged in clean-up efforts while taking care against possible further landslides. We may have to stop working if it rains heavily again."

The meteorological agency said rains had eased - but warned further downpours in northern Kyushu on Monday could trigger more landslides.

Meterological factors contributing to Kyushu's floods

 

Light rainfall was recorded in northern Kyushu Monday morning but there were no immediate reports of further damage.

Most of the 400,000 people who were ordered or advised to evacuate their homes on the island were allowed to return home after authorities began lifting evacuation orders Sunday. But 6,000 were still under instructions to stay away.

In Yame, a mountainous area of Kyushu's Fukuoka prefecture, 5,000 people had been isolated by landslides, but just 82 remained cut off Monday, officials said.

Rainfall of up to 81.7cm has been recorded in hardest-hit Aso, situated at the foot of a volcano in Kumamoto, where at least 19 people were killed and three others were still missing.

There was also heavy rain on Sunday in Kyoto - 500km east of the affected areas in Kyushu - where about 20 people were temporarily trapped after a stream broke its banks.

455

Source:
Agencies
Topics in this article
People
Country
City
Organisation
Featured on Al Jazeera
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.
Ministers and MPs caught on camera sleeping through important speeches have sparked criticism that they are not working.
Featured
Referendum on Scottish independence is the first major election in the UK where 16 and 17-year olds get a vote.
Blogger critical of a lack of government transparency faces defamation lawsuit from Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong.
Farmers worry about their future as buyers shun local produce and rivers show an elevated presence of heavy metals.
War-torn neighbour is an uncertain haven for refugees fleeing Pakistan's Balochistan, where locals seek independence.
NSA whistleblower Snowden and journalist Greenwald accuse Wellington of mass spying on New Zealanders.
join our mailing list