National

MORE HEAVY RAIN FORECAST

Flood death toll hits six; four missing

Kyodo

Three women found dead Wednesday brought the death toll from massive rain and floods that hit Niigata and Fukushima prefectures the previous day to six.

Four other people were listed as missing, local police said. The Meteorological Agency has meanwhile warned of more heavy rain in the area.

Some 14,000 residents took refuge at schools and other public facilities in Niigata Prefecture overnight, while efforts continued by boat and helicopter to rescue people trapped in their homes in flooded areas.

On Wednesday, about 130 people were airlifted from roofs and other high places in flooded areas of Sanjo, Mitsuke and Nakanoshima in Niigata Prefecture.

More than 10 helicopters were dispatched to the flooded areas by the Air and Ground Self-Defense forces, the Japan Coast Guard, the Niigata Prefectural Government and other municipalities.

Thirty-seven rescue boats, including vessels sent by the Tokyo Metropolitan Government and the city of Kanazawa, Ishikawa Prefecture, also helped rescue stranded residents.

Hundreds of rescuers from the Tokyo Metropolitan Fire Department and the Ground Self-Defense Force were mobilized aboard inflatable boats to fetch stranded residents.

“I cannot get in touch with my brother-in-law’s family. The telephone doesn’t work,” said a 60-year-old man who came to Sanjo to see what happened to his wife’s family home. Despite his worries, he was unable to get near the house because of a flood from a nearby river.

On Wednesday morning, a firefighter found Matsu Horiuchi, 75, dead at a vacant lot in Sanjo, while Kikue Asano, 75, was found drowned on a flooded road in Nakanoshima.

Another woman, Fumi Sugawara, 76, was found dead in her flooded home, apparently from drowning, in Sanjo in the afternoon.

On Tuesday in Niigata Prefecture, Kihachiro Imai, 83, died when he was buried in a mudslide behind his house in Tochio, and Hisae Namba, 72, was found dead in Izumozaki after her house was buried in a mudslide.

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