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Troops arrive as floods kill 26 in Japan (VIDEO)

Thousands remain cut off despite improving weather conditions.

Japan flooding july 15Enlarge
A beekeeper tries to save a hive submerged by floodwaters in Kurume, Fukuoka, on July 14, 2012. About 400,000 people were ordered or advised to leave their homes in southwest Japan as heavy rain pounded the area for a third day leaving 26 dead, officials and media said. (JIJI PRESS/AFP/Getty Images)

Soldiers have arrived to help areas hardest hit by flooding that’s killed as many as 26 people in Japan.

Thousands remain cut off despite improving weather conditions, The Associated Press reported.

More than 250,000 people forced from their homes by Saturday’s evacuation order started to return home today.

Record, torrential rains triggered the flooding and mudslides; the forecast is improving, but meteorologists expect more rain Monday.

Still more people remain trapped, however, after landslides and downed trees swamped roads in the mountainous regions.

In addition to the 26 dead, seven elderly residents are unaccounted for, the AP said.

Japan’s Self-Defense Forces are bringing food, water and medicine, Agence France-Press reported.

“It is still uncertain when we can remove rubble from the roads so that the remaining people can secure access,” Machiko Koga, a spokeswoman for Yame City, told AFP.

Thousands of homes are also flooded, and TV crews showed residents shoveling mud from their houses.

Nearly 32 inches of rain has fallen, AFP said.

As many as 5,000 people are cut off in Japan’s northwest, BBC said.

The SDF is helping bring supplies and search for the missing.

Fukuoka, Saga, Kumamoto and Oita are the prefectures with the most damage.

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