TOKYO – The death toll from heavy rains and flooding in southern Japan has reached 15, a government official said Saturday, while rescue teams are busy in evacuating isolated survivors.
Raging rivers overflowing with water and mud have hit swathes of Kyushu — the southernmost of Japan’s four main islands — after heavy rainfall brought much disaster.
Rescuers are battling rain in different areas to trace the missing persons, with more than 500 believed to still be cut off, according to public broadcaster NHK.
Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told reporters early Saturday that the death toll reached 15, while 16 people were still missing.
“The region is expected to see a localised heavy rain today,” Suga said, advising people to collect information from the governments and media.
Separately, rescuers found three women dead at the sea facing Saga prefecture, near the hard-hit Fukuoka prefecture city of Asakura, NHK said, adding that they were likely the victims of the heavy rain.
Deep mud and soaked ground on steep hillsides as well as collapsed bridges have hampered rescue work.
The government has sent some 12,000 police, military, firefighters and coast guard personnel for rescue operations. – APP