Japan floods death toll rises to 15

The death toll from heavy rains and flooding in southern Japan has risen to 15, media reported today, as rescuers continued work to bring out isolated survivors.

Published: 08th July 2017 08:41 AM  |   Last Updated: 08th July 2017 08:41 AM   |  A+A-

Firefighters cross a swollen river during a search operation following the flooding caused by heavy rain in Asakura, Fukuoka prefecture, southwestern Japan, Saturday, July 8, 2017. (File | AP)

By AFP

TOKYO: The death toll from heavy rains and flooding in southern Japan has risen to 15, media reported today, as rescuers continued work to bring out isolated survivors.

Raging rivers overflowing with water and mud have devastated swathes of Kyushu -- the southernmost of Japan's four main islands -- after heavy rainfall, sweeping away roads and houses and destroying schools.

Thousands of rescuers have been fighting through thick mud and battling rain to search for missing and stranded people, with more than 600 believed to still be cut off according to Jiji Press.

Jiji and public broadcaster NHK reported the death toll had risen to 15 as more bodies were discovered.

The central government yesterday announced an official death toll of seven with 22 people unaccounted for.

Deep mud and soaked ground on steep hillsides as well as knocked-out bridges have hampered rescue work.

TV footage has shown rescuers strapping people to cables to be lifted up to helicopters to be ferried to safety in evacuation shelters.

Broken trees, their bark stripped away, littered the scenic and verdant landscape like broken matchsticks as thick clouds hovered over green mountains.

Aerial TV footage on Friday showed desperate residents of one isolated area using uprooted trees to spell out "SOS for rescuers to see.

Fallen trees smashed into houses in the hard-hit Fukuoka prefecture city of Asakura, which saw more than 50 centimetres (almost 20 inches) of rain in a 12-hour period to Wednesday night.

"My parents are still trapped with 16 other people in the Kurogawa area and I have absolutely no information about the situation there," Asakura resident Kayoko Ishibashi told AFP yesterday, referring to a district in the city.

"So I can only wait here in the hope that they will be rescued by helicopter," she added. "It's the same for everyone here."

The government has dispatched some 12,000 police, military, firefighters and coast guard personnel for rescue operations.

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 decided to postpone today's scheduled formal announcement of their engagement.

Stay up to date on all the latest World news with The New Indian Express App. Download now
(Get the news that matters from New Indian Express on WhatsApp. Click this link and hit 'Click to Subscribe'. Follow the instructions after that.)

Comments

Disclaimer : We respect your thoughts and views! But we need to be judicious while moderating your comments. All the comments will be moderated by the newindianexpress.com editorial. Abstain from posting comments that are obscene, defamatory or inflammatory, and do not indulge in personal attacks. Try to avoid outside hyperlinks inside the comment. Help us delete comments that do not follow these guidelines.

The views expressed in comments published on newindianexpress.com are those of the comment writers alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of newindianexpress.com or its staff, nor do they represent the views or opinions of The New Indian Express Group, or any entity of, or affiliated with, The New Indian Express Group. newindianexpress.com reserves the right to take any or all comments down at any time.

flipboard facebook twitter whatsapp