Officials Still Urging Caution For Parts Of Kyushu

Officials still urging caution for parts of Kyushu

In Japan's southwestern region of Kyushu, the intense rain falling has left more than 50 people dead and about a dozen others missing.

Weather officials have switched a heavy rain emergency warning issued for three prefectures to a warning. But they're asking people to remain on alert for landslides and rivers spilling over their banks.

In Oita, officials say the Chikugo river overflowed in Hita city and one of its tributaries flooded part of neighboring Fukuoka Prefecture. Residents are asked to monitor evacuation information and secure their safety in case of a possible disaster. More flooding is expected in several cities along the river.

In Fukuoka, self-Defense Forces personnel are racing to rescue elderly residents in the city of Omuta. Many people have been calling for help along a river where houses have been submerged.

A woman said, "It was scary... the water was up to my neck." Another woman said, "The water came up to my waist. I was using all of my strength to wade through, but was almost swept away."

The worst-hit prefecture in the region is Kumamoto. The heavy rain has claimed the lives of 52 people across Kyushu so far, and all but one of them are from that prefecture. Two other people there have no vital signs, and 11 are missing.

Rivers have flooded in a dozen places. An embankment along the Kuma river has collapsed, and a bridge has been swept away.

Many train and express bus services have been suspended across the region. Thousands of homes are without electricity.