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60 dead, several missing due to torrential rains in Japan; search operations continue

Across the country, about 3.6 million people were advised to evacuate, although evacuation is not mandatory and the number of people who actually took shelter was not provided.

SNS | New Delhi |

At least 60 people were dead and several reportedly missing as torrential rain was moving northeast on Wednesday, battering large areas of Japan’s main island, swelling more rivers, triggering mudslides and destroying houses and roads.

The parts of Nagano and Gifu in central Japan were flooded by massive downpours.

Footage on NHK television showed swollen water in the Hida River gouging into the embankment, destroying a national highway along the river.

It is still unknown what happened to their residents.

Across the country, about 3.6 million people were advised to evacuate, although evacuation is not mandatory and the number of people who actually took shelter was not provided.

In Omuta, about 200 people were left stranded at two evacuation centres after floodwaters surged in the area.

More than 75,000 residents in the prefectures of Kumamoto and Kagoshima were urged to evacuate following pounding rains last week.

Flooding also cut off power and communication lines, further delaying the search and rescue.

The death toll from the heavy rains that started in the early hours of July 4 is expected to climb as search efforts for the missing continued at sites hit by landslides and floods.

Rescue operations continued in Kumamoto, where 14 people are still missing.

The rainfall that exceeded 100 millimeters (4 inches) per hour has since subsided but the Japan Meteorological Agency has kept mudslide warnings in place across Kumamoto.