Torrential rains cause severe flooding in Japan

Troops worked Thursday, June 6 to rescue hundreds of people stranded by flooding in southern Japan. At least two people were found dead and nearly 20 were still unaccounted for in flooding that wrecked homes, roads and rice terraces.

Heavy rain warnings were in effect for much of the southern main island of Kyushu after Typhoon Nanmadol swept across Japan earlier in the week.

Authorities in Fukuoka on Kyushu said six people were injured, two of them seriously. One man was found dead after he was covered by a mudslide. Four others were missing and feared dead in the city after being swept away by floodwaters or buried underneath mudslides.

In neighboring Oita prefecture, where rivers also overflowed, a 43-year-old man dug up from a mudslide was pronounced dead, according to the Oita prefecture. Public broadcaster NHK said he was a rescue worker.

Four people were missing in Fukuoka, while 15 others were still unaccounted for in neighboring Oita, according to prefectural disaster management websites.

Hundreds of people were trapped in areas by the floodwater, Kyodo News reported.

In one of the worst-hit towns, Asakura in Fukuoka, a man managed a narrow escape when a landslide crushed his home on a steep mountain slope, NHK said.

“I heard smashing and banging in the house, windows shattering, then floodwater gushed into the house, furniture floating around,” said Tsunemichi Motomatsu, who runs a liquor store with his wife.

“We struggled for life and somehow got out. Now I feel it’s a miracle both of us are still alive,” Motomatsu told NHK, pointing to his house, collapsed and half-buried in the mud.

Television footage showed rice fields and homes flooded after a river overflowed its banks, dragging vehicles into the riverbed and destroying dozens of buildings as well as roads and bridges. Soldiers waded gingerly through floodwaters, carrying an elderly man to safety and evacuating families using inflatable boats.

Many trees washed down from mountains were floating in flooded fields or blocking roads. Homes were without electricity, train operations were suspended and parts of highways closed. Classes at dozens of schools, including those used as shelters, were canceled Thursday.

Nearly 600,000 people were ordered or advised to evacuate in Fukuoka, but only a fraction of them did, in part because the heavy rain worsened during the night. Only about 1,800 people had sought refuge in schools and other public facilities as of early Thursday, according to the prefecture’s disaster management website. In Oita, more than 270,000 people were subject to evacuation.

Japan’s Meteorological Agency said Fukuoka and Oita were experiencing unprecedented amounts of rain.

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A man tries to return his home

A man trying to return his home gives up as driftwood block the way as torrential rain hit on July 6, 2017 in Toho, Fukuoka, Japan. (Photo: The Asahi Shimbun via Getty Images)

Flooded Asakura City

An areal view of flooded Asakura City, Fukuoka prefecture, on July 6, 2017. (Photo: STR/AFP/Getty Images)

Local residents are evacuated

Japanese soldiers help local residents evacuate from flooded area in Asakura, Fukuoka prefecture, on July 6, 2017. More than a dozen people are missing after huge floods swept away houses in southern Japan, tearing up roads as roiling waters surged through villages, authorities said, after unprecedented rainfall.(Photo: STR/AFP/Getty Images)

Cars are washed away in debris

In this aerial image, cars are washed away among driftwood as torrential rain hit on July 6, 2017 in Asakura, Fukuoka, Japan. (Photo: The Asahi Shimbun via Getty Images)

A landslide swamps Ono

In this aerial image, a landslide swamps Ono area after the torrential rain on July 6, 2017 in Hita, Oita, Japan. (Photo: The Asahi Shimbun via Getty Images)

Residents flee

Residents flee from an isolated school in Asakura, Fukuoka prefecture, southwestern Japan Thursday, July 6, 2017. (Photo: Takuto Kaneko/Kyodo News via AP)

Debris left by heavy rain

Debris caused by heavy rain are left in Asakura, Fukuoka prefecture, southwestern Japan Thursday, July 6, 2017. Heavy rain following a recent typhoon flooded many houses in southwestern Japan, forcing thousands of people to flee, authorities said. (Photo: Sadayuki Goto/Kyodo News via AP)

A woman removes flood-damaged belongings

A local resident takes out flood-damaged belongings from her house in Asakura, Fukuoka prefecture, on July 6, 2017.
(Photo: Kazuhiro Nogi/AFP/Getty Images)

People fell through a damaged road

People walk through a damaged road to flee from an isolated school in Asakura, Fukuoka prefecture, southwestern Japan Thursday, July 6, 2017. Troops were working Thursday to rescue families left stranded by flooding in southern Japan. Heavy rain warnings were in effect for much of the southern island of Kyushu after Typhoon Nanmadol swept across Japan earlier in the week. (Photo: Takuto Kaneko/Kyodo News via AP)

Evacuated residents receive food

Evacuated residents from a flooded area receive food aid at a school in Hita, Oita prefecture on July 6, 2017.
(Photo: Kazuhiro Nogi/AFP/Getty Images)

A street is filled with mud

Local residents stand outside their homes on a street filled with mud and silt following heavy flooding in Asakura, Fukuoka prefecture, on July 6, 2017. (Photo: Kazuhiro Nogi/AFP/Getty Images)

Rescue workers search debris

Rescue workers from Japan’s Self Defense Force search through debris piled over a house completely demolished by flooding caused by heavy rain in Toho, Fukuoka prefecture, southwestern Japan Thursday, July 6, 2017. Troops worked Thursday to rescue hundreds of people stranded by flooding in southern Japan. (Photo: Nozomu Endo/Kyodo News via AP)

Residents are rescued

Residents are rescued by boat after heavy rain isolated an area in Asakura, Fukuoka prefecture, southwestern Japan Thursday, July 6, 2017. Heavy rain following a recent typhoon flooded many houses in southwestern Japan, forcing thousands of people to flee, authorities said. (Photo: Sadayuki Goto/Kyodo News via AP)

People navigate over debris

Local residents walk on driftwood blocking the way to their homes as torrential rain hit on July 6, 2017 in Toho, Fukuoka, Japan. T (Photo: The Asahi Shimbun via Getty Images)

A resident is airlifted

A resident is airlifted for safety after a group of people are stranded in the Ono district following a huge landslide caused by heavy rain in Hita, Oita prefecture, southwestern Japan, Thursday, July 6, 2017. Troops worked Thursday to rescue hundreds of people stranded by flooding in southern Japan. (Photo: Nozomu Endo/Kyodo News via AP)

Destroyed railway bridge

This aerial photo shows a destroyed railway bridge in Hita, Oita prefecture, southwestern Japan Thursday, July 6, 2017. Troops were working Thursday to rescue families left stranded by flooding in southern Japan. Heavy rain warnings were in effect for much of the southern island of Kyushu after Typhoon Nanmadol swept across Japan earlier in the week. (Photo: Nozomu Endo/Kyodo News via AP)

Destroyed railway bridge

A survivor is taken to a hospital by a helicopter as torrential rain hit on July 6, 2017 in Toho, Fukuoka, Japan. (Photo: The Asahi Shimbun via Getty Images)

A house buried by a mudslide

In this aerial image, police officers surround a house buried by a mudslide after the torrential rain on July 6, 2017 in Asakura, Fukuoka, Japan. (Photo: The Asahi Shimbun via Getty Images)

Evacuated elderly residents

Elderly people unable to return their houses after using a nursing home spend time in Toho, Fukuoka, Japan on July 6, 2017. (Photo: The Asahi Shimbun via Getty Images)

A man stands amid debris

A man stands amid debris caused by a swollen river in Asakura, Fukuoka prefecture, southwestern Japan Thursday, July 6, 2017. Heavy rain following a recent typhoon flooded many houses in southwestern Japan, forcing thousands of people to flee, authorities said. (Photo: Takuto Kaneko/Kyodo News via AP)

A local resident wipes her tears

A local resident wipes her tears as she looks at her house buried in earth and sand following heavy flooding in Asakura, Fukuoka prefecture, on July 6, 2017. (Photo: STR/AFP/Getty Images)

A man walks on a flooded road

A flooded road with fallen rocks is pictured in Hita in Oita Prefecture, Japan, after torrential rain hits on July 5, 2017. (Photo: Kyodo via Reuters)

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