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At Least 50 Dead in Japanese Natural Disaster

A surfer walks alone on Katase Kaigan beach in Fujisawa, near Tokyo, Tuesday, July 7, 2020. (AP Photo/Koji Sasahara)

At least 50 people on the southwestern island of Kyushu are dead after three days of torrential rains, floods and mudslides.

The casualties include 14 residents of a nursing home for the elderly in Kumamoto, the region which has sustained the worst effects of the disaster. The nursing home was swamped by waters from the nearby Kuma River that overran its embankment, leaving residents who were wheelchair-bound trapped on the ground and unable to reach higher ground.

At least a dozen people are missing.

The disaster has washed out bridges and roads, prompting emergency crews to sail down flooded streets on rafts and inflatable boats to rescue residents trapped in their homes. Some residents were also rescued from the rooftops of their inundated homes by helicopter.

Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told reporters Sunday that more than 40,000 members of the Self-Defense Force, along with local emergency first responders, were involved in search-and-rescue missions in Kyushu.

More than a million people have been ordered to evacuate the Kyushu region.