1 dead, 8 unaccounted for as heavy rain hits southwest Japan

Photo: Kyodo
TOKYO. KAZINFORM Heavy rain pounded parts of Japan's southwestern region Monday, causing mudslides and river overflows and leaving one person dead, another feared dead and eight others unaccounted for, Kyodo reports.

The Japan Meteorological Agency issued its highest rain alert level for the first time this year, for neighboring Fukuoka and Oita prefectures, urged residents to take immediate measures to secure their safety.

An elderly woman was confirmed dead after she and her husband were found trapped in a house engulfed in mud due to a landslide in Soeda, Fukuoka, local authorities said. The 74-year-old husband was safe.

In Karatsu, Saga Prefecture, a landslide hit two houses, according to local authorities. A woman was found by rescuers but she showed no vital signs, while two men remain unaccounted for.

In Kurume, Fukuoka, mud inundated at least seven houses, with rescuers failing to make contact with six people, they said.

Due to the heavy rain, bullet train services between Hiroshima and Hakata stations on the Sanyo Shinkansen line as well as Hakata and Kumamoto stations on the Kyushu Shinkansen line were temporarily halted, their operators said.

Kurume logged its 6-hour rainfall record at 316 millimeters as of 10 a.m. Monday, according to the agency.

In the 24 hours through 6 a.m. Tuesday, up to 200 mm of rainfall was forecast in the northern Kyushu region, up to 100 mm in the Chugoku region in western Japan and up to 80 mm in the Hokuriku region in central Japan.

As heavy precipitation is expected from western and eastern regions facing the Sea of Japan through Tuesday, the weather agency called for vigilance against landslides, flooding in low-lying areas and overflowing rivers.

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