Floods, mudslides from heavy rain in Japan kill at least 10

TOKYO (AP) — Torrential rain that caused flooding and mudslides in towns east of Tokyo left at least 10 people dead and added fresh damage in areas still recovering from recent typhoons, officials said yesterday.

Rescue workers found the body of a person who had gone missing in Chiba prefecture after getting caught up in floodwaters while driving. Another person was unaccounted for in Fukushima, farther north, which is still reeling from damage by Typhoon Hagibis earlier this month.

The death toll from the flooding included nine people in Chiba and one in Fukushima.

While rains and floodwaters subsided, parts of Chiba were still inundated. About 4,700 homes were out of running water and some train services were delayed or suspended.

In Midori District in Chiba, mudslides crushed three houses, killing three people who were buried underneath them. Another mudslide hit a house in nearby Ichihara city, killing a woman. In Nagara and Chonan towns, four people drowned when their vehicles were submerged.

“There was enormous noise and impact, ‘boom’ like an earthquake, so I went outside. Then look what happened. I was terrified,” said a Midori resident who lives near a crushed home. “Rain was even more intense than the typhoons.”

In Fukushima, a woman was found dead in a park in Soma city after a report that a car was washed away. A passenger was still missing.

Rain also washed out the second round of the PGA Tour’s first tournament held in Japan, the Zozo Championship in Inzai city. Yesterday’s second round allowed no spectators.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe held an emergency task force meeting yesterday morning and called for “the utmost effort in rescue and relief operations”. He also urged quick repairs of electricity, water and other essential services to help restore the lives of the disaster-hit residents.

The Prime Minister’s Office said the average rainfall for the entire month had fallen in just half a day on Friday.

The downpour came from a low-pressure system above Japan’s main island of Honshu that moved northward late on Friday. Power was restored yesterday at most of the 6,000 Chiba households that had lost electricity. About 390 people remained at shelters yesterday afternoon.

Vehicles are submerged in floodwaters after torrential rain in Sakura city, Chiba prefecture, east of Tokyo. PHOTO: AP