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Japan Orders Flood Zone Evacuation; S. Korea Warns of Mudslides

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July 31 (Bloomberg) -- Japan told almost half a million people to evacuate flood zones in central Honshu while South Korea warned waterlogged hillsides might slide as downpours pummeled both northeast Asian nations.

Three bodies were discovered in rivers swollen by the deluge and three others are missing in the Japanese prefectures of Niigata and Fukushima, and authorities advised or ordered evacuation of 470,000 residents, the Fire and Disaster Management Agency said today on its website.

Niigata recorded 1,186 millimeters (47 inches) of rain and Fukushima 680 millimeters since July 27, the Japan Meteorological Agency said on its website yesterday. The agency forecast rainfalls up to 24 millimeters per hour in the region tomorrow.

South Korea’s capital of Seoul and parts of Gyeonggi, and South Chungchong, Jeolla provinces will receive hourly rainfall from 50 millimeters to 120 millimeters tonight and tomorrow, the Korea Meteorological Administration said on its Web site.

Torrential rains triggered mudslides and flash floods that killed at least 51 people in South Korea last week. As many as 10 landmines at an air-defense site in southern Seoul were missing as of July 29 after parts of the hillside were washed away.

North Korea scaled down military exercises planned last week because of heavy rainfall, Yonhap News reported July 29.

North Korea’s state-run Korean Central News Agency said thousands of homes and hundreds of factories, schools and public buildings were destroyed by floods. China’s government and the Red Cross decided to provide emergency relief aid to help North Korea recover from the damage, KCNA reported.

To contact the reporter on this story: Makiko Kitamura in Tokyo at mkitamura1@bloomberg.net; Seyoon Kim in Seoul at skim7@bloomberg.net.

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Paul Tighe at ptighe@bloomberg.net

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