Record Rains Leave 28 Dead, 4 Missing in South Japan Floods

Record Rains Leave 26 Dead, Six Missing in Southern Japan Floods
Soldiers of the Ground Self Defence Force and other workers repair a collapsed bank of the Koura River in Kurume, Fukuoka Prefecture, on July 14, 2012. Source: JIJI Press/AFP/GettyImages

Police in southwestern Japan are searching for four missing people after record rains triggered landslides and flooding that killed 28 and forced almost a quarter of a million to evacuate, Asahi newspaper reported today.

Precipitation in Aso city on the southern main island of Kyushu reached a record 50.75 centimeters (20 inches) for a 24-hour period, Japan Meteorological Agency said in a statement yesterday. Heavy rain warnings were issued for Fukuoka, Saga and Nagasaki prefectures on the island, the agency said on its website today. As much as 5 centimeters of rain per hour are expected in Fukuoka city today, the agency said.

Shirara Shiokawa, director of the agriculture ministry’s management-improvement bureau, asked Japan Finance Corp. to offer financial support to farmers in the region, the ministry said in a statement on July 13. Tetsuo Morimoto, a parliamentary secretary for the ministry, is visiting Kyushu’s Kumamoto and Oita prefectures today to estimate the damage to farming from the rains and landslides, according to its website.

Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda ordered all the members of his cabinet to offer assistance to people in the damaged areas in Kyushu, including rescue operation, Noda said on Fuji Television Network Inc.’s live program today.

The worst of the storm has passed, the agency said yesterday. Torrential rains caused the collapse of 145 houses and flooding of more than 800 residences, according to public broadcaster NHK.

Four days of downpours through July 14 triggered landslides and flooding that forced almost a quarter of a million to evacuate and disrupted transportation in Kyushu. The region’s rivers, including the Yamakuni, flooded, and people living nearby were advised to evacuate, according to public broadcaster NHK.

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