Death toll climbs to 54 as heavy rain hammers southern Japan

TOKYO (AP) — Heavy rainfall is hammering southern Japan for the third day, prompting new disaster warnings on Kyushu and Shikoku islands as local media report the death toll has risen to 54 with 44 people missing.

The Japan Meteorological Agency says three hours of rainfall in one area in Kochi prefecture reached an accumulated 26.3 centimeters (10.4 inches), the highest since such records started in 1976.

The assessment of casualties is difficult because of the widespread area affected by the rain, flooding and landslides.

Authorities warn landslides can strike even after rain subsides as the calamity is shaping up to be potentially the worst in decades.

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