Death toll mounts to 100 as Japan receives record rainfall

09 July, 2018, 11:02 | Author: Sue Mclaughlin
  • Dozens dead and missing as 'historic rains' and floods hit Japan

Residents flee a flooded area in Kurashiki, Okayama prefecture on Sunday.

Nearly 2 million people were still subject to evacuation orders, while tens of thousands of rescue workers battled mud, water and rubble to search for survivors stranded in their homes.

Japan's government said yesterday that at least 81 people had been killed in days of record rain, and the toll was expected to rise further.

"We are carrying out rescue operations around the clock", Yoshihide Fujitani, a disaster management official in Hiroshima prefecture, told AFP.

Bullet train services were partially halted from Thursday night due to heavy rain and the risk of mud flowing onto railway tracks in some areas, though West Japan Railway Co resumed operations on Friday morning, according to Kyoto News Agency. Most of the deaths were reported in Hiroshima and Ehime Prefectures, though eight prefectures were impacted.

In one part of Kumano, the nose of a white vehicle was just visible underneath the top floor of a home that had been torn from the rest of the building and swept down a hillside.

Abe told reporters on Sunday that the rescuers are battling time to save people in need of help.

Residents clean up near a house damaged by heavy rain in Soja city, Okayama prefecture. More than 100 reports of casualties had been received, such as cars being swept away, and some 40 helicopters were out on rescue missions, it said.

Another 58 were missing, NHK said, and more rain was set to hit some areas for at least another day.

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"We can not take baths, the toilet doesn't work and our food stockpile is running low", said Yumeko Matsui, whose home in the city of Mihara has been without water since Saturday.

Some 30,000 people remained in shelters on Sunday, while the evacuation orders and advisories were issued for almost 6 million people, according to the Fire and Disaster Management Agency.

In Okayama Prefecture, one of the hardest-hit areas, more than 1,000 people were temporarily trapped on the roofs of buildings submerged by floods following the bursting of three dikes on the nearby Oda River.

"The area became an ocean", said Nobue Kakumoto, 82, a local resident. Hundreds of homes have been damaged.

They found the flood waters had engulfed their rice fields and homes alike.

In the town of Saka, Eiichi Tsuiki opted to stay in his home, and survived only by moving to the top floor as flood waters rose, washing away cars outside.

"I have lived here all my life. I've never seen this before", the 69-year-old oyster farmer told AFP.

Scientists have warned that one outcome of global warming could be an increase in rain-related disasters, and experts now say people should leave well in advance of evacuation orders where forecasts show heavy rain is possible.

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