20 die in Japanese flooding

250,000 have been evacuated due to flooding, landslids

FUKUOKA, Japan, | July 14, 2012

At least 20 people have been killed in flooding and landslides in southern Japan and about 250,000 people have been ordered to evacuate, officials said.

The BBC reported the deaths occurred in the past three days on the southern island of Kyushu after torrential rainfall in southwest Japan.

Police and firefighters said at least seven people were missing, Kyodo News reported.

Evacuation orders affected about 85,000 households in the prefectures of Fukuoka, Saga, Kumamoto and Oita. School gyms were being used as evacuation centers.

More than 2,600 houses in Fukuoka, Oita, Kumamoto and Saga prefectures were destroyed, Sky News reported.

The Meteorological Agency forecast more than 7 1/2 inches of rain would fall in northern Kyushu and nearly 6 inches in southern Kyushu and the Tokai region in a 24-hour span through Saturday morning.

Police were searching for an 80-year-old man who left home Thursday in Taketa in Oita prefecture.

Japanese media reported two of three people who had been buried in mudslides in Yame city in Fukuoka prefecture had been rescued, but an 83-year-old woman was still missing, Sky News said.

Three people suffered minor injuries when the city of Oita was struck by lightning, authorities said.

The weather led to a temporary halt to Kyushu Railway Co. services on the Kyushu Shinkansen Line.

More than 31 inches of rain fell in Kumamoto prefecture over three days, affecting more than 600 properties, Sky News said.

2012 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

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