Rains of death hit Japan

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Police search for missing villagers following a mudslide in Minamiaso, Kumamoto Prefecture, western Japan.

At least 20 people are dead or missing after heavy rains that triggered flash floods and mudslides and destroyed dozens of homes, leaving thousands more without power on Thursday.

Officials said damage was concentrated in Kumamoto and neighbouring Oita states on Japan’s southern island of Kyushu. Most victims were in their 70s and 80s .

Some residents trapped in inundated areas were airlifted by helicopters and rescue teams and troops have been flown into the area to help stricken towns and villages left isolated after local train services were disrupted and roads blocked.

picture: Kyodo News/AP.