TOKYO -- Thousands of people in southern Japan remained cut off yesterday by floods and mudslides triggered by torrential rains that have killed at least 26 people, local authorities said.

Evacuation orders issued a day earlier for a quarter of a million people were lifted in most areas as the rains subsided, allowing many people to return home. But thousands remained cut off by landslides or fallen trees that blocked roads in mountainous areas.

More than 3,000 people were left stranded in Yame, in Fukuoka Prefecture, where roads were cut off to seven districts, Kyodo News agency reported, citing local authorities. The military took food by helicopter to stranded districts.

Local officials raised the death toll from the torrential rains in the northern parts of the Kyushu region to 26 and six people remain missing in Kumamoto, Oita and Fukuoka prefectures, Kyodo reported. Most of the victims were in their 70s and 80s.

In Yame, a 70-year-old man died after being caught in a landslide, while another man died in Yanagawa, also in Fukuoka, after being rescued from a car at an irrigation channel floodgate, according to local authorities, Kyodo reported.

In Kyoto Prefecture, in western Japan, rainfall up to 3.5 inches an hour flooded around 100 houses each in Kameoka and Kyoto, Japan's old capital, Kyodo reported.

The Japan Meteorological Agency said that the worst was over, but predicted more rain and thunderstorms in some areas through today. -- AP

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