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Death toll from rain in Kyushu reaches 26


Under water: Residential areas and fields are shown submerged in Yanagawa, Fukuoka Prefecture, after the Yabe River levee collapsed Saturday during heavy rain.


FUKUOKA — The death toll caused by heavy rain in northern Kyushu climbed to 26 on Sunday, local authorities said.

In Yame, Fukuoka Prefecture, a 70-year-old man died after being caught in a landslide, while another man died in Yanagawa, also in Fukuoka, after being retrieved from a car at an irrigation channel floodgate, according to the authorities.

A total of six people were still missing as of 9 p.m. in Fukuoka and Kumamoto prefectures, where police continued to search.

Around 3,000 people were believed to have been isolated in Yame after roads to residential areas were cut off. On Sunday, the Self-Defense Forces began flying in food and water to isolated communities by helicopter.

Meanwhile, the Yanagawa Municipal Government was racing to repair two sections of a levee that gave way on the swollen Yabe River on Saturday but lifted the citywide evacuation order.

In Aso, Kumamoto Prefecture, Isao Shiraishi, 68, who lost his 87-year-old father Tsuguo to a mudslide that also washed away the family's antique store, said his father had been very cautious of natural disasters after the region was inundated by a major flood in July 1990.

"We didn't expect this rain to be even worse than what we experienced at that time," Shiraishi said.

The Meteorological Agency said that while the torrential rains in the region have already peaked, heavy rain and thunderstorms are still predicted for some areas.

In Kyoto Prefecture, meanwhile, intense rainfall as heavy as 90 mm per hour flooded some 100 houses each in Kameoka and the city of Kyoto.

The heavy precipitation also triggered landslides in the two cities.

Japan Times

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