Mon, Aug 01, 2011 - Page 5 News List

Torrential rains lash northeastern Japan, leaving three dead

AFP, TOKYO

Heavy rains continued to lash northeastern Japan yesterday with the death toll rising to three in the hardest-hit region of Niigata, police and medical officials said.

Three others were missing in Niigata and Fukushima, the latter of which was ravaged on March 11 by a magnitude 9.0 earthquake and tsunami that knocked a nuclear power plant out of control.

A strong magnitude 6.4 quake, which seismologists said was an aftershock of the massive quake, struck off Fukushima’s coast early yesterday, injuring seven people.

Thousands remained sheltered at evacuation centers since Wednesday to avoid floods from the rain storm, following torrents that killed at least 59 in South Korea last week.

Local governments in Niigata and had issued guidance since Friday to more than 60,000 people to flee their homes, the Japanese Fire and Disaster Management Agency said.

Several thousand were estimated to remain sheltered in Niigata early yesterday, an official at the Niigata prefectural office said.

He could not immediately confirm how many people had actually been evacuated.

In Fukushima, 1,020 were sheltered as of late Saturday, the Jiji Press news agency said.

The Japanese Fire and Disaster Management Agency said 2,278 houses had been flooded.

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