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Rescue crews are racing against time to find more than 20 people who are still missing after torrential rain caused flooding and landslides in south-western Japan.
On Sunday the northern end of Kyushu island endured a fifth day of torrential rain.
About 1,900 policemen and soldiers are using heavy machinery as they struggle to navigate their way through massive amounts of debris caused by the deluge.
So far 18 people have been confirmed dead in Fukuoka and Oita prefectures and 14 others injured.
Japan rescuers continue search as more rain forecast, at least 18 dead: NHK https://t.co/wtaW8vWlwH— Reuters Top News (@Reuters) July 9, 2017
“Considering the feelings of those whose families are missing, I want to rescue as soon as possible,” Kiyoharu Kawano of the Ground Self-Defense Force said.
Local residents struggled to cope with the clean-up. “It’s tough, it’s tough,” said an elderly man, who was pushing a wheelbarrow in the heavy rain, carrying mud out of an old wooden noodle restaurant.
Hundreds of people have taken shelter in elementary schools and community centres.
But around 570 people remain stranded, mostly in mountainous areas, where roads and bridges have been damaged.
The city of Asakura was hit by more than 600 mm (24 inches) of rain since it started pouring on Wednesday, and Hita was pounded by nearly 450 mm of rain during the same period, the meteorological agency said.
It’s warning of more torrential rain and possibly more flooding and landslides into Monday in south western Japan.