TOKYO, July 6 (Xinhua) -- More torrential rain continued to batter Japan's southwestern region of Kyushu on Monday following the weekend's deluge, triggering flooding and mudslides as the death toll rose to 44 in the hard-hit Kumamoto Prefecture.
According to the prefectural government, 14 of the 44 fatalities were from a nursing home near the Kuma River, which overflowed and caused extensive flooding. It added that one is without vital signs and 10 others remain missing with rescuers racing against the clock to save lives.
Meanwhile, the Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) issued its highest-level warning on heavy rain for parts of Fukuoka, Nagasaki and Saga prefectures, also in the Kyushu region, urging people to take all possible measures to protect themselves.
The weather agency called on residents in those areas to be on high alert for disasters such as flooding and landslides through Tuesday morning.
As of Monday afternoon, some 254,000 residents from 117,000 households in Kumamoto, Miyazaki and Kagoshima prefectures were ordered to evacuate.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told government officials to do all they can to save lives and support those who have been affected. He also urged people across the country to be on alert, and to get the latest information from local governments.