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Flood death toll hits 20 as Japan warned of more rainfall

Tokyo: The death toll from floods and landslides unleashed by torrential rains on Japan’s southern island of Kyushu rose to 20 on Sunday, with 14 people missing, NHK public TV said.

More heavy rain is forecast after Saturday’s deadly deluge in the Kumamoto prefecture, Japan’s worst natural disaster since Typhoon Hagibis in October last year left about 90 people dead.

A couple walks in front of houses damaged by flood in Kuma village, Kumamoto prefecture, south-western Japan, on Sunday.

A couple walks in front of houses damaged by flood in Kuma village, Kumamoto prefecture, south-western Japan, on Sunday.Credit:AP

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told a meeting of Japan’s disaster response task force to step up the search and rescue operations.

“Nothing is more important than human lives. Please make utmost effort through the night to search for missing people,” Abe said after Japanese television broadcast images of overturned cars, people shovelling mud from their homes and the military rescuing stranded residents in boats.

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