Rain, mudslides flood Japan, 14 presumed dead

by Muizat Hameed

Fourteen people have been feared dead after a nursing home for elderly people was flooded in western Japan.

Governor Ikuo Kabashima from the western region of Kumamoto said, “The victims were found “in cardio-respiratory arrest” at the facility for elderly people that was inundated after a nearby river broke its banks.”

Officials said they were still sorting out the numbers and could not confirm the toll.

Another 10 were presumed missing and dozens were stranded on rooftops waiting to be rescued in southern Japan.

More than 75,000 residents in the southern prefectures of Kumamoto and Kagoshima have been asked to evacuate following pounding rains overnight. The evacuation was not mandatory and it was not known how many actually fled.

“I smelled mud, and the whole area was vibrating with river water. I have never experienced anything like this,” a man in a shelter in Yatsushiro city in western Kumamoto said.

“In another badly flooded town, Ashikita, six people were unaccounted for and a seventh was seriously injured.” Kumamoto officials said.

In the mountainous village of Kuma, residents stranded at their homes were being airlifted by a rescue helicopter. In Hitoyoshi city, rescuers transported some residents in a boat.

Flooding also cut off power and communication lines. About 8,000 homes in Kumamoto and neighboring Kagoshima were without electricity, according to the Kyushu Electric Power Co.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe set up a task force and said up to 10,000 troops were being mobilised for rescue operations.

The Japan Meteorological Agency earlier issued warnings of extraordinary rain in parts of Kumamoto, which is about 1,000km (600 miles) southwest of Tokyo. It later downgraded them as the rainfall – estimated at 100mm (4 inches) an hour – subsided.

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