At least 19 people have been killed as the heaviest rainfall on record pounded Japan’s southern island of Kyushu, causing flash floods and mudslides, the NHK public broadcaster reported on Friday.
A month's rain has fallen in some parts of Kyushu’s Kumamoto and Oita prefectures over the past 12 hours. Some 50,000 people were ordered to evacuate from disaster-hit areas, the report said.
Some 20 people have been reported missing. Local authorities say the number of those killed and missing is expected to rise.
Japan’s Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda promised full relief efforts to help those affected by the disaster.
“I have heard that this is a record for heavy rainfall. We will take effective measures,” he said at a parliament session on Thursday.