Dozens of people feared dead after torrential rain triggers landslides

Australian Associated Press
·2-min read

Japan's southern island of Kyushu is bracing for the return of torrential rains that have killed at least 16 people and left 13 missing.

Authorities on one of Japan's main islands, Kyushu, ordered more than 200,000 people to leave their homes and seek refuge on Saturday.

Fourteen others were feared dead as flooding hit a nursing home in a rural area of Kumamoto prefecture, broadcaster NHK reported on Sunday.

About 50 people were rescued from the home in Kuma Village, about 950 kms southwest of Tokyo, Kyodo News reported, citing Kumamoto prefectural officials.

A flood-damaged town in Hitoyoshi City, Kumamoto Prefecture.
A flood-damaged town in Hitoyoshi City, Kumamoto Prefecture, western Japan, one day after the disaster. Source: AAP

Public broadcaster NHK said the weather agency expects the heavy rain to resume by Sunday evening.

A seasonal rainy front dumped heavy rains in the southwestern prefectures of Kumamoto and Kagoshima on Saturday (local time), leading officials to urge tens of thousands of residents to flee their homes.

Authorities were still warning on Sunday of torrential rains, mudslides, flooding and swollen rivers in the region.

People can be seen trying to work through the flooding wreckage.
Television broadcast images people shovelling mud from their homes and the military rescuing stranded residents in boats. Source: Getty

Television broadcast images of overturned cars, people shovelling mud from their homes and the military rescuing stranded residents in boats.

"We had no electricity and no running water," one rescued woman told the broadcaster.

"It was tough."

The Japan Meteorological Agency urged people to stay vigilant, as more rains are predicted.

A seasonal rainy front dumped heavy rains in the southwestern prefectures of Kumamoto.
A seasonal rainy front dumped heavy rains in the southwestern prefectures of Kumamoto and Kagoshima on Saturday, leading officials to urge tens of thousands of residents to flee their homes. Source: Getty

"From this evening on, extremely heavy rains with thunder are expected in southern as well as northern Kyushu," an agency official told Reuters.

"The rainfall so far has already loosened the ground. There is a high chance of landslides occurring, even without much additional rain."

Rainfall of up to 200 millimetres was forecast for southern Kyushu, 150 millimetres for the Tokai region in central Japan and 100 millimetres for northern Kyushu and the southwestern island of Shikoku and the Kinki region by Monday morning, according to the Japan Meteorological Agency.

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