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Japan urges 180,000 to evacuate flood area
by Staff Writers
Tokyo (AFP) July 30, 2011

Japan Friday issued evacuation advisories for more than 180,000 people in central Niigata region and tsunami-hit Fukushima, as heavy rains triggered floods which left five missing, reports said.

Sanjo City in Niigata, some 200 kilometres (125 miles) north of Tokyo, advised all 104,000 residents to go to flood evacuation centres, Jiji Press news agency said.

Rain had topped half a metre (20 inches) at several points since Wednesday, it said.

"There are no immediate reports of injuries or deaths, but we urge our citizens to evacuate to the designated shelters as soon as possible and stay on alert," said Ayaka Hoshi, a Sanjo City spokeswoman.

In the prefectural capital Niigata, some 72,000 people were asked to evacuate.

In neighbouring Fukushima prefecture, the town of Tadami advised all its residents, some 4,900 people, to evacuate, Jiji said. Two men, both in their 60s, were missing, it said.

Police in Niigata said three members of a family in Tokamachi city had been swept away in a river. Two were recovered safely but the third, a 93-year-old woman, was missing, the agency said.

Two men were missing in other parts of Niigata prefecture.

Officials had requested the Self-Defence Force dispatch troops to join the search for missing people and help those stranded by mudslides and floods, Jiji and Kyodo News said.

More than 70,000 homes and buildings in Niigata and Fukushima prefectures were hit by power blackouts, Kyodo reported, with many houses flooded.

Fukushima is home to the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant which was crippled by the massive March 11 earthquake and tsunami.

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N. Korea state media says China to send flood aid
Seoul (AFP) July 31, 2011 - China will send flood aid to North Korea after it was hit by rain-triggered floods and landslides that washed away homes, roads and farmland and caused casualties, the North's state media said Sunday.

Chinese President Hu Jintao expressed "deep sympathy" in a message sent to the North's leader Kim Jong-Il on Friday, the Korean Central News Agency said, adding that China's Red Cross and government have decided to offer relief aid.

"The emergency aid... will greatly boost recovery efforts of North Korean people at flood-stricken areas," KCNA said, without giving details.

Heavy downpours that pounded the communist country from July 12 to 15 left homes, roads and more than 20,000 hectares (50,000 acres) of farmland submerged, and caused unspecified casualties, KCNA said two weeks ago.

The torrential rain that dumped more than 250 millimetres (about 10 inches) of rain in some areas also seriously damaged coal mines, power production and railway lines, it said.

Earlier this month, state media said a tropical storm that hit the country in June had caused casualties and left more than 150 homes and some farmland submerged or destroyed.

After decades of deforestation, the impoverished North is particularly vulnerable to flooding. In 2007 it reported at least 600 dead or missing from devastating floods.

China is the North's sole major ally and economic prop, supplying the bulk of its food and fuel needs.

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Seoul officials under fire as storm toll hits 59
Seoul (AFP) July 29, 2011
South Korean city planners and developers were blamed Friday for allegedly causing "man-made" disasters that killed at least 59 people and left thousands homeless after record rainfall this week. Among the dead were 16 killed when mudslides hit southern parts of Seoul on Wednesday and 13 who perished in a landslide in the Chuncheon region, 100 kilometres (60 miles) east of the capital. T ... read more

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