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Death toll from devastating southwest Japan floods climbs to 100

10 July, 2018, 01:43 | Author: Priscilla Morrison
  • A landslide blocks National Route No. 156 in Gujo Gifu Prefecture

Rescuers in south-western Japan have recovered more bodies as they search for dozens of people still missing after heavy rains caused severe flooding and killed more than 100 people.

The overall death toll from the rains in Japan rose to at least 69 on Sunday after floodwaters forced several million people from their homes, media reports and the Fire and Disaster Management Agency said.

Public broadcaster NHK said flooding and landslides were hindering rescue efforts and repeatedly urged people not to lose hope.

The agency has warned that Japan's Kinki region, which includes Kyoto, Hyogo and Osaka prefectures, could be particularly hard-hit by the downpour, escalating the risk of floods, landslides, lightning and tornadoes.

Many people are believed to be stranded in their homes where roads have been cut off by the flooding.

At least 100 people died or are presumed dead, with more than 60 still unaccounted for, a lot of them in the hardest-hit Hiroshima area.

The heaviest rainfall seen in Japan for decades has caused destruction over large parts of the country, particularly in the south-west, where 58 people are missing.

According to the Fire and Disaster Management Agency, evacuation orders or advisories had been issues to almost 6 million people spanning 19 prefectures.

In Okayama prefecture, rescue workers flew in helicopters over areas that are still under flood water and otherwise unreachable, looking for signs of life.

Television footage showed bridges and cars washed away by raging rivers and flood waters, with people perched on the roofs of their homes, surrounded by water and awaiting rescue.

Local government officials said pumping trucks were being deployed to help restore access to some of the worst-hit areas in the area, and with the rains stopped, water was starting to recede.

At one point around five million people were told to evacuate, but the orders are not mandatory and many people remained at home, becoming trapped by rapidly rising water or sudden landslides. Izumi Co., which operates shopping centers mainly in western Japan, fell as much as 3.7 percent.

Automakers including Mazda Motor Corp and Daihatsu Motor Co suspended operations at several plants on Saturday due to a shortage of parts or risky conditions.

The Japanese government has set up an emergency office designed for crises such as major earthquakes.


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