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19 Killed in record downpour in Japan

By IANS/RIA Novosti,

Tokyo : 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.

A month’s rain has fallen in some parts of Kyushu’s Kumamoto and Oita prefectures over the last 12 hours, according to the NHK public broadcaster.

Some 50,000 people have been ordered to evacuate from disaster-hit areas, the report said, adding that some 20 people have been reported missing.

Local authorities say the number of those killed and missing is expected to rise.

Japanese Prime Minister Yoshihiko Noda has 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 Thursday.