Japan flooding: Dozens dead as torrential rain triggers landslides
08 July, 2018, 23:50 | Author: Roderick Gutierrez
At least 67 people have died and dozens are missing after floods and landslides in parts of western Japan, national broadcaster NHK World reported on Sunday.
The torrential rain is finally easing - but millions of people have been forced from their homes and many others are still waiting to be rescued.
But elsewhere in western and central Japan torrential rain was continuing to fall, and the agency issued new top-level warnings for Kochi and Ehime, in the west of the country. "I was just able to escape, but I was terrified", 62-year-old Yuzo Hori told the Mainichi Shimbun daily in Hiroshima. "We had fled to the second floor but then the water rose more, so we went up to the third floor".
An aerial view shows local residents seen on the roof of submerged house at a flooded area as they wait for a rescue in Kurashiki, southern Japan on July 7.
Landslide warnings are in place in over a quarter of Japan's prefectures.
Among the dead, two elementary-school girls and their mother from the Ehime district were sucked into a mudslide, according to Kyodo news service.
On Saturday, Abe warned at an emergency government meeting that "the situation is extremely serious" and ordered his government to "make an all-out effort" to rescue those affected.
Rescuers were searching for 46 missing people on Saturday.
"Around 1,000 people were seeking rescue by Sunday morning, but we don't yet have a complete picture of the disaster, which is enormous", Mutsunari Imawaka, a spokesman for the prefecture's disaster management office, told AFP.
In the town of Saka, also in Hiroshima prefecture, Eiichi Tsuiki evacuated to the top floor of his house as rising waters washed away cars outside.
By Thursday afternoon, rainfall of about 457 mm (18 inches) had been recorded in some parts of the smallest main island of Shikoku over the last two days, with up to 400 mm (16 inches) more predicted in some areas in the next 24 hours.
The Department of International Relations and Cooperation (Dirco) said the South African Embassy in Japan had not reported any South African victims and remained in close contact with the Japanese authorities.
Electronics maker Panasonic Corp said one plant in Okayama, western Japan, could not be reached due to road closures, although it had been closed for the weekend anyway.
Panasonic halted production of video cameras at a plant in Okayama city, while Amazon stopped work at a distribution center in the prefecture, according to the Nikkei. About 40 helicopters were out on rescue missions.
More than 50,000 rescuers have been dispatched across a wide swathe of south-western and western Japan.
The culprit is unusually heavy seasonal rains, which the Japanese Meteorological Agency has dubbed "historic".
Heavy rain could make the rescue mission even tougher because water levels would rise and make passage in some areas hard. Rescuers found all 12 boys and their soccer coach alive deep inside a partially flooded cave in northern Thailand .
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