Japan flood death toll rises to 25, many still missing

On Tuesday, Japan's weather agency has warned of continued heavy rains in Kyushu.

Japan floods
An area damaged by swollen river after heavy rain is seen in Asakura, Fukuoka Prefecture. Reuters

The death toll from torrential rainfall and flooding that swept through Japan's south has reached 25, the government said on Tuesday. This comes amid the rescue operation that is going on through thick mud to rescue more than 100 still stranded.

The authorities had predicted further downpours in Kyushu. Last week, the swaths of the south-western island were devastated by overflowing rivers - sweeping away roads, houses and schools and forcing thousands of people into makeshift shelters.

According to reports, many are still stranded and the emergency services are struggling to reach them amid treacherous conditions. The local government officials said that some 150 people were still cut off as of Monday evening in hardest-hit Fukuoka and Oita prefectures.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told AFP on Tuesday that a total 25 people have died, while at least 25 remain unaccounted for. Some 12,000 rescuers are making "utmost" efforts to find survivors and clear washed-up driftwood hampering the search, Suga added.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe cancelled a visit to Estonia that was originally planned as a last leg of his European tour, which included the Group of 20 summit in Germany, to come back to Tokyo on Tuesday afternoon to deal with the disaster.

Suga said that Abe will visit Fukuoka and Oita prefectures on Wednesday to talk to staff at shelters and local government officials.

More than 50cm of rain deluged parts of Kyushu over just 12 hours last week, while rains have continued intermittently since. On Tuesday, Japan's weather agency warned of continued heavy rains in Kyushu.