Floods and landslides on the Japanese South Island of Kyushu has the death toll rising to 20 and 14 missing.
Rainfalls of up to 200 millimetres were forecast for southern Kyushu, 150 millimetres for the Tokai region in central Japan and 100 millimetres for northern Kyushu and the southwestern island of Shikoku and the Kinki region by Monday morning 6th July, according to the Japan Meteorological Agency.
More heavy rain has fallen after Saturday’s deadly deluge in the Kumamoto prefecture, Japan’s worst natural disaster since Typhoon Hagibis in October last year left about 90 people dead.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told a meeting of Japan’s disaster response task force to step up the search and rescue operations.
“Nothing is more important than human lives. Please make utmost effort through the night to search for missing people,” Mr Abe said after Japanese television broadcast images of overturned cars, people shovelling mud from their homes and the military rescuing stranded residents in boats.
Mr Abe ordered 10,000 troops on standby for immediate deployment to join rescue and recovery operations, pledging the central government would “do its best to take emergency measures, prioritising people’s lives”.
“The rainfall so far has already loosened the ground. There is a high chance of landslides occurring, even without much additional rain.” A massive landslide destroyed several houses with rescuers searching for missing people through half-buried windows.
Japan is currently in its rainy season, which often causes floods and landslides and prompts local authorities to issue evacuation orders.
In 2018, flooding in western Japan killed more than 200 people.