The death toll from floods and landslides caused by torrential rains on the southern Japanese island of Kyushu climbed to 44 on Monday, with heavy rain emergency warning forcing local authorities to issue evacuation orders to 1.1 million residents.
Ten people were still unaccounted for, officials in Kumamoto said, adding that though heavy rain continued to pound flood-stricken areas, hampering search and rescue operations.
Meanwhile, the Japan Meteorological Agency issued a heavy rain emergency warning for the prefectures of Saga, Nagasaki and Fukuoka on Kyushu.
In the city of Omura, Nagasaki, 94.5 millimetres of rain per hour was recorded, according to broadcaster NHK.
Speaking at a news conference, the agency’s forecaster Yoshihisa Nakamoto, warned of landslides, flooding and swollen rivers in the three prefectures and called on their residents to be on “maximum alert”.
On Saturday, flooding and landslides struck rural areas of Kumamoto, leaving dozens of people, including 14 at a nursing home, dead.
Wide areas along the Kuma River were flooded as its banks were breached at several locations.
At least 14 bridges, including 10 over the Kuma in Kumamoto were washed away, NHK reported.
About 6,100 households along the river were inundated, according to a government survey on Monday.
About 7,750 households lost electricity in the prefectures of Kagoshima and Kumamoto as at Monday, Kyushu Electric Power said.
The Meteorological Agency said it expected a seasonal rainy front to continue dumping torrential rains in wide areas of the country.
Rainfall of up to 300 millimetres was forecast for northern Kyushu, up to 250 millimetres for the Tokai region, and up to 200 millimetres for southern Kyushu and the Chugoku region by Tuesday evening, according to the agency.
Two years ago, torrential rains in western Japan caused floods and landslides, killing more than 220 people, the largest number of weather-related deaths in three decades.
About 4,300 people in the affected areas still live in temporary housing.
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