IT

Japan floods toll rises to 18

Japan floods toll rises to 18

The death toll from heavy rain and flooding in southern Japan this week has risen to 15, officials said Saturday, as rescue workers reached isolated villages where at least 14 others are missing and feared dead. Five people were in critical condition, and more than 500 people remained cut off from their communities, according to Japan's public broadcaster NHK.

Heavy machinery was working to clear nearly knee-deep mud from streets while nearby, an uprooted tree was tangled in cables from an electricity power pole.

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"All the mud and debris is making the clean-up effort hard", said Susumu Higuchi, a resident of Asakura.

"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.

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Heavy rain warnings are still in place for parts of the southern island of Kyushu after Typhoon Nanmadol swept across Japan earlier in the week, dumping large amounts of rain that damaged homes, roads and rice fields. Roads and bridges were damaged and dozens of vehicles and houses were destroyed. 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 almost 450 mm of rain during the same period, the meteorological agency said, warning of yielding ground.

Japan's Imperial Household Agency said that out of consideration for the disaster-hit region, Emperor Akihito's eldest granddaughter Princess Mako and her fiancée chose to postpone Friday's scheduled formal announcement of their engagement.

Wildfires prompt evacuations in Little Fort
That was also because of wildfires. 100 Mile Fire Rescue is attending a wildfire that has broken out west of town. Most of Little Fort and the Dunn Lake area were ordered evacuated Friday night, with further evacuations today.

The government was doing its "utmost" to recover the survivors, Japan's Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said in a weekend press conference.


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