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Rescuers search for survivors as Japan rain death toll reaches 19

Kyodo News via AP

Members of Japan's Self Defense Force search for missing residents in Takeda, Oita Prefecture, on July 13, 2012. Heavy rains hit southern Japan on Thursday, triggering flashfloods, mudslides and destroying dozens of homes.

At least 19 people are reported dead and eight missing following heavy rains that hit the southwestern Japanese island of Kyushu, The European Pressphoto Agency reports.

An unprecedented 20 inches of rain descended on the area on Thursday.

Kyodo News via AP

Police officers search for missing villagers following a mudslide in Minamiaso, Kumamoto Prefecture on July 12, 2012.

Masanobu Nakatsukasa / Yomiuri Shimbun via AP

Residential streets are submerged after a river overflowed its banks in Kumamoto on the island of Kyushu on July 12, 2012.

Japan Self Defence Forces via EPA

Self Defense Force personnel looking for dead bodies from a landslide in Aso city, Kumamoto prefecture, on July 13, 2012.

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