Torrents of rainfall and flooding battered a widespread area in southwestern Japan on Saturday, with local media casualty reports climbing quickly. Public broadcaster NHK said 38 people were dead, four were injured seriously and 47 were missing.
Television footage showed a residential area in Okayama prefecture seeped in brown water spreading like a huge lake, NBC News reported. Some people fled to rooftops and balconies and waved furiously at hovering rescue helicopters.
Okayama prefecture said a man caught in a landslide died, and six others were missing. Evacuation orders had been issued to more than 360,000 people, the prefecture said in a statement.
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Throughout the affected areas, parked cars sat in pools of water. NHK TV said water had reached as high as 16 feet in the worst-hit areas.