Fri, Jul 16, 2004 - Page 5 News List

Flooding, landslides kill 8 as torrential rain lashes Japan

AFP , TOKYO

The death toll from flooding and landslides caused by torrential rain in northern Japan reached eight yesterday with three people missing, as a major rescue operation continued, officials said.

"As over the last two or three days, we are trying to rescue people in flooded areas with boats and helicopters," said Hideyuki Shigematsu, an official with the Fire and Disaster Management Agency.

Niigata prefectural police said they had found a 72-year-old man drowned near the entrance of his carpentry shop, in Sanjo, about 250km north of Tokyo.

Seven others, aged 72 to 83, were also found either drowned or crushed under landslides as the torrential rain that has fallen since Tuesday destroyed their homes.

A 68-year-old woman suffered broken bones after being trapped against her house by a landslide, police said. By early yesterday, about 5,800 people had taken shelter outside their homes, the disaster agency said. About 1,650 people had been rescued, of whom 92 were airlifted to safety, it said.

More than 1,300 Japanese troops had been called upon to assist with the rescue and clean-up, the Defense Agency said.

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