Death toll at 21 after floods, landslides hit Japan

Death toll at 21 after floods, landslides hit Japan

The death toll following torrential rainfall in southwestern Japan last week rose to 21 on Monday, with scores of people still unaccounted for in the hardest-hit regions, local officials said. Some places have seen more rain in a matter of hours than they usually get in the whole month of July.

The police have announced they found another person without vital signs by a river in Asakura City in Fukuoka Prefecture on Monday morning. "Since my teeth are bad, I want to eat something soft". He was among the five whose bodies were discovered in the Ariake Sea on Saturday, surrounded by Kumamoto and other prefectures and situated several far from the disaster-stricken area.

Municipal officials in Fukuoka Prefecture said Monday that more than 20 people in the prefecture are still missing, with concerns mounting as the weather agency here has warned that powerful thunderstorms may again batter the already rain-ravaged region's in Japan's southwest on Monday evening.

Since areas along the Chikugo River flowing into the sea include those hit hard by the heavy rain, the bodies may have been washed downstream. Roads and bridges were damaged and dozens of vehicles and houses were destroyed.

In a junior high school in Asakura, around 160 students gathered for a ceremony to mark the end of the term and shared a moment of silence.

At the home of Ito Doi, 83, five male volunteers helped carry muddy furniture and tatami out of the house, where she lives alone.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said 12,000 troops and other rescuers were focusing on remote villages where hundreds are still stranded.

The land ministry made a decision to send more staff to Kyushu because some municipalities lack the manpower and know-how to cope with the disaster.