Kyushu [Japan], July 7 (ANI): As more torrential rains hit Japan's southwestern region of Kyushu on Tuesday, the death toll has reached 52. Japan's Meteorological Agency has issued a heavy rain emergency warning for parts of Fukuoka, Saga and Nagasaki Prefectures in Kyushu, NHK World reported.
According to The Japan Times, in Kumamoto Prefecture, at least 51 people have died and 11 people were still missing, authorities said, while a woman in Fukuoka Prefecture was also confirmed dead.
"We are racing against time," Yutaro Hamasaki, a Kumamoto official, was quoted as saying.
"We have not set any deadline or time to end the operation, but we really need to speed up our search as time is running out. We won't give up to the end," Hamasaki added.
Meanwhile, more than 40,000 personnel, including police and firefighters as well as coast guards and the SDF, have been deployed to rescue people as around a dozen are still unaccounted for.
As people living in the mountainous areas remained stranded with phone, electricity and water services cut, the local authorities are trying to shift them to evacuation centres.
However, the authorities are facing the daunting task of tackling the evacuation process amid the coronavirus pandemic.
While compared to many other nations, Japan has till now reported with just under 20,000 cases and fewer than 1,000 deaths, but the need to maintain social distancing has reduced the capacity at evacuation shelters.
In Yatsushiro, Kumamoto Prefecture, the authorities have reportedly converted the local sports gymnasium into a shelter and used cardboard walls to separate families as a measure to prevent the spread of the virus. (ANI)