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Flooding, mudslides in Japan kill 15

Friday, July 13, 2012    

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TOKYO, Japan (AP) — Heavy rain triggered flash floods and mudslides in southern Japan yesterday, causing at least 15 deaths and leaving 11 more people missing.

Television footage showed residents wading through muddy, knee-deep water on streets. Others shovelled out mud from their homes.

Local officials said damage was concentrated in Kumamoto and neighbouring Oita states on Japan's southern island of Kyushu. Most victims were in their 70s and 80s.

Hundreds of homes were destroyed or damaged, and tens of thousands of people had to evacuate the area threatened by swollen rivers and mudslides.

The Meteorological Agency said as much as 50 centimetres (20 inches) of rain fell overnight. It predicted up to 20 centimetres (eight inches) of rainfall through today.

Rescue workers and defence troops have been sent to the region to help. Some residents trapped in inundated areas were airlifted by helicopters.

The heavy rains also disrupted local train services, blocked off roads and left about 22,000 homes without electricity.

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