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Japan floods kill at least 18 people after record-breaking rainfall

Rescue workers in Japan are beginning a desperate search for survivors after dozens were left dead or missing following widespread flash flooding triggered by record rainfall on the southern island of Kyushu.

Local authorities confirmed at least 18 people had died and 14 were missing in the prefectures of Kumamoto and Kagoshima, with images from the hardest-hit areas showing houses completely destroyed by the strength of the flood waters.Japan’s Meteorological Agency issued a warning Saturday for unprecedented rainfall, calling for residents in Kyushu to take “maximum caution.” At least 270,000 people were told to evacuate in four prefectures across the island.

Kuma Village in Kumamoto saw a record-breaking 83.5 mileometers of rainfall in one hour on Saturday morning, according to the meteorological agency, while Kanoya city in Kagoshima had 109.5 mm in an hour on Monday, its highest ever.A heavy rain warning remains in place for parts of Kumamoto and Kagoshima on Monday, with more flooding expected.

A rail line lies upturned after being submerged by floodwater when the nearby Kuma River burst its banks, on July 5 in Hitoyoshi, Japan.

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