Heavy Rain, Flooding Hits Southern Japan

Heavy rain, flooding hits Southern Japan

Authorities say over 10 people are without vital signs and others are missing, after torrential rains and flooding hit parts of southern Japan.

A band of cloud hung over the region on Saturday, dumping rain on Kumamoto Prefecture, although the downpour has eased for now.

The Kuma River has overflowed in more than 10 places.

14 people have been found without vital signs at a nursing home for the elderly in a flooded area.

A person elsewhere is also without vital signs, while officials have confirmed one death.

They are still unable to make contact with a further nine people.

Rescuers trying to reach stranded residents are facing blocked roads.

Many 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.