Heavy Rain, Flooding Batters Southern Japan

Heavy rain, flooding batters Southern Japan

Flooding in parts of southern Japan caused by torrential rain has inundated many residential areas. Authorities say more than 17 people have been found with no vital signs while others are missing.

A band of cloud hung over southern Japan on Saturday, dumping heavy rain on Kumamoto Prefecture. The rain has since eased.

The Kuma River overflowed its banks in more than 10 places.

14 of the people without vital signs were found at a nursing home for the elderly that was flooded.

Three people elsewhere are also without vital signs while one person has been confirmed dead.

Officials are still trying to make contact with seven people.

Rescuers trying to reach stranded residents are facing blocked roads.

Scores of people are seeking shelter at evacuation centers.

A woman said, "It wasn't like normal rain. I honestly never imagined it could be so powerful."

A man said, "The smell of the river and the muddy water was intense. I could feel the vibrations from the churning water through the road next to the riverbank."

The Japanese government is sending some 10,000 Self-Defense Force members to the region, and the Disaster Management Minister will also head to affected areas.

Forecasters warn the weather front is set to linger until around next Wednesday with more heavy rain expected. They say there's a risk of flooding in low-lying areas, overflowing rivers, lightning strikes, and sudden gusts of wind.