- Created on Sunday, 15 July 2012 18:43
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Japanese troops are airlifting supplies to thousands of people trapped in mountainous districts cut off by floods on the southern island of Kyushu.
Rescue teams have been searching for those missing following flooding and landslides caused by record rainfall.
So far, 22 people have reportedly been killed. Hundreds of thousands have been affected. Many of them are staying in evacuation centres.
Heavy rain has also caused flooding in Japan's historic capital, Kyoto.
TV footage showed muddy waters sweeping through homes and streets as rivers burst their banks in Kyushu.
Troops and police are concentrating their rescue operation on the north-west of the island, where some 5,000 people are stranded after roads were swept away.
At least seven people were said to be missing on Friday. Japan's Self-Defence Forces have been brought in to help search for them.
About 250,000 people have been ordered to leave their homes in the prefectures of Fukuoka, Saga, Kumamoto and Oita.
In Fukuoka prefecture alone, about 190,000 people from 65,000 households were issued the order, with the entire area of the cities of Yanagawa, Yame and Miyama to be evacuated.
Another 140,000 have been advised to vacate their homes as well, AFP quoted local officials as saying.
Those being asked to leave have been told to go to designated shelters such as schools and other facilities, according to the agency.
( BBC )