07/23/2009, 00.00
JAPAN
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Floods hit southern Japan: eight dead, nine missing

Hundreds of army volunteers and teams search for the missing. Floods caused by heavy rain falls in the area since last weekend. Five of the dead were patients at a nursing home, flooded by mud and water.

Tokyo (AsiaNews / Agencies) - Hundreds of policemen, soldiers and volunteers are engaged in the search for nine people, missing after a flood that struck the south of Japan. The death toll - still provisional - is eight dead, some of whom were patients at a nursing home flooded by a wave of mud.

A seasonal rain front has brought torrential downpours in south-western Japan since the weekend. Hundreds have been displaced and supplies of drinking water disrupted, while weather experts warn of more landslides, caused by the constant down pour that has broken previous records for the month of July.

In Hofu, a city in the prefecture of Yamaguchi, a hundred patients in a hospice were rescued by helicopters and emergency teams after a wave of mud and water flooded the building. Five patients were killed, between 63 and 95 years old, two are still missing today after two days of futile searches.

A farmer of 74 years died after falling into a tank of water, a woman of 85 years was buried by an avalanche and a third person drowned after being sucked into the flood waters of a river.
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