Deadly torrential rains and flooding batter southwestern Japan

Construction worker dies after being swept away by floods in Japan

Construction worker dies after being swept away by floods in Japan

TOKYO-Torrents of rainfall and flooding battered a widespread area in southwestern Japan, as casualty tolls reported by local media quickly climbed. Some people fled to rooftops and balconies and waved furiously at hovering rescue helicopters.

In Kasaoka, Okayama Prefecture, six workers were buried after a landslide crashed into their factory early Saturday morning, with one person confirmed dead.

"I was in a vehicle and massive floods of water gushed towards me from the front and back and then engulfed the road".

As many as 16 lakh people have been evacuated from their homes, Reuters reported.

NHK said water had risen as high as 4.9m (16ft) in the worst-hit areas where cars were seen left in pools of water.

Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told his ministers to "make an all-out effort" to rescue victims, saying: "The situation is extremely serious".

In Hiroshima Prefecture, 41 people were missing, while seven remained out of contact in Ehime Prefecture. NHK repeatedly urged those awaiting rescue to not lose hope. Another woman in the same district was found dead on the second floor of a home hit by a landslide. Also in Ehime, two elementary-school girls and their mother who got sucked into a mudslide were rescued but their hearts weren't beating, it said.

Residents are rescued from a flooded area by Japan Self-Defense Force soldiers in Kurashiki, southern Japan, in this photo taken by Kyodo July 7, 2018.

A woman in her 70s or 80s was reportedly found dead inside a drainage facility in central Japan, local police reported, with a number of people remaining unaccounted for, including a man in Kochi Prefecture whose milk deliver vehicle may have been washed away by a river.

Fears that the Katsura River in Kyoto Prefecture could overflow on the night of July 6 forced the Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism Ministry's Kinki Regional Development Bureau to release water from the Hiyoshi Dam situated on the upper reaches of the river in Tannan, Kyoto Prefecture.

Meanwhile in Okayama, military water trucks rushed to areas where water systems were down and soldiers continued to help stranded people and pets using small military boats.

Japan on Thursday ordered the evacuation of thousands of residents from the outskirts of its ancient capital of Kyoto after "historic" rains battered its western region, killing a man, with yet more rain forecast.

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