150,000 ordered to evacuate in Japan flooding

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Tokyo (dpa) – Some 150,000 people were ordered to evacuate their homes Thursday as torrential rains, flooding and mudslides hit eastern Japan, local media reported.

Ten people were reported to be missing, including at least nine residents who were swept away after the Kinugawa river breached its banks in Joso city, 40 kilometres north-east of Tokyo.

The floodwaters inundated hundreds of houses and left about 200 residents stranded, news agency Jiji Press reported, citing local authorities.

One woman was missing after mudslides triggered by heavy rain struck her house in Kanuma city, broadcaster NHK said.

About 100 people in the region have been rescued by helicopter, Jiji said.

Television footage showed a bridge washed away by a swollen river in the north-eastern town of Minami Aizu and some houses swept away in Kanuma city.

In the city of Nikko, north of Tokyo, one man was feared dead after he fell into a ditch and suffered “cardiopulmonary arrest,” broadcaster NHK reported.

The total rainfall has topped 600 millimetres in the city since Monday, a level not seen in decades, the Japan Meteorological Agency said.

The region “is facing an imminent grave danger,” Takuya Deshimaru, a meteorological agency official, told a news conference Thursday morning, referring to the prefectures of Ibaraki and Tochigi.

The agency was warning of further mudslides and swollen rivers in eastern and north-eastern Japan with heavy rain pounding the region even after Typhoon Etau weakened into an extratropical depression late Wednesday.

The season’s 18th typhoon hit central Japan Wednesday, injuring 11 people.

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