National

Death toll from heavy rain in Niigata area rises to 14

Kyodo

The death toll from torrential rains that have wreaked havoc mainly in Niigata Prefecture since early last week rose to 14 as two more bodies were found Saturday, police said.

Officers found the body of Kazuo Tsujiura, 37, and that of Sadao Iida, 63, in paddy fields in Sanjo, Niigata Prefecture.

Both Tsujiura and Iida went missing Tuesday.

Two people remained missing in Niigata and neighboring Fukushima Prefecture as of Saturday.

Local authorities said they were remaining on alert as the Japan Meteorological Agency predicted heavy rain may fall again later Saturday in the area.

Evacuation orders remained in effect for around 12,000 households in nine cities and towns in Niigata Prefecture. Some 4,000 people in the area have continued to take refuge at nearby community centers and other public facilities.

About 25,000 houses and apartments in the prefecture were flooded, according to the prefectural government.

Some 700 volunteers from Osaka and Kyoto, as well as from within Niigata Prefecture, gathered in Nakanoshima, where they helped elderly people clean mud and debris from their homes.

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