Rescue workers on Friday continued to search for 16 people missing on the southwestern Japan main island of Kyushu following torrential rain since last week.

Police resumed searches for five people missing in Yufu and Hita in Oita Prefecture, while Hitoyoshi and Kuma in Kumamoto Prefecture started accepting volunteer workers from within the prefecture to help remove flood debris.

Police officers relay buckets full of mud as they search for missing people at the site of mudslides in Tsunagi, Kumamoto Prefecture, southwestern Japan, on July 10, 2020, after torrential rain. (Kyodo)

Kumamoto Prefecture, which has been hit hardest by the heavy downpours that began Saturday, said the death toll in the prefecture rose to 60 after confirming the death of another person, while 10 others remain missing. Including casualties in Fukuoka and Oita prefectures, a total of 63 people have died in Kyushu.

Rain cleared for most of the region in the morning, but the weather agency forecasts fresh downpours in northern Kyushu and other parts of the island from the evening.

The rain, which also lashed central Japan and other parts of the country, had caused mudslides in 179 locations including 48 in Kumamoto, made 84 rivers overflow and inundated 1,264 hectares of land as of Thursday, according to the land ministry.

As of Friday morning, roughly 6,000 housings were damaged, with nearly 5,000 of them located in Fukuoka Prefecture, the Fire and Disaster Management Agency said.

Some 680 people were cut off in Takayama and Gero in Gifu Prefecture due to mudslides and flood water severing roads, but access was restored by Friday morning thanks to recovery efforts, according to local authorities.

Photo taken July 10, 2020, shows a car half buried at the site of a landslide in Gero, Gifu Prefecture, central Japan, following torrential rain. (Kyodo)

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