Death toll rises to 7 in rain-hit Kyushu; 26 remain missing

The Yomiuri Shimbun

Rescue workers head to an area on Friday that has been isolated by heavy rain in Fukuoka Prefecture.

Jiji Press FUKUOKA/OITA (Jiji Press) — The death toll from record rainfall that devastated areas in Fukuoka and Oita prefectures has risen to seven, while 26 others remain missing, local authorities said Friday.

Self-Defense Forces troops, police officers, firefighters and other personnel continued search and rescue operations in the two prefectures on Friday, two days after the northern part of the Kyushu region began to be hit by heavy rain caused by a seasonal rain front.

According to the Japan Meteorological Agency, with the seasonal rain front still covering western Japan, heavy rain is forecast for northern Kyushu through Saturday.

The Fukuoka city of Kitakyushu issued evacuation instructions Friday morning to some 49,000 people in some areas of the city to prevent damage from landslides and flooding.

A total of 11 people remain unaccounted for in the city of Asakura and three in the village of Toho, both in Fukuoka, while 12 people are still missing in the Oita city of Hita, according to the prefectures.

In Hita, the number of people who could not be contacted stood at 133 as of 4 a.m. Friday. The Hita municipal government believes that most of them might be staying in evacuation centers or their homes.

Since many missing people are residents in districts where telephone services are currently paralyzed, rescue operations are focused on such districts.

According to the Fukuoka prefectural government, 170 households have been isolated in Toho. Some 200 people are stranded in Asakura, mainly in the city’s Kurogawa district.

At a meeting of relevant ministers held at the prime minister’s office in Tokyo on Friday, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said that the disaster area situation remains severe, calling for strengthening measures to prevent further damage and to boost recovery efforts.

The government has increased the number of police and Japan Coast Guard officers, firefighters and SDF troops taking part in rescue efforts to about 12,000, according to Suga.Speech

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