Historic flooding, landslides pose daunting task for rescuers as over 100 die

10 Juillet, 2018, 15:05 | Auteur: Anatole Charbonneau
  • Fire fighters helps residents to get off boats in Kurashiki Okayama Prefecture

The death toll from carnage caused by torrential rains in western Japan reached 130 on July 10, the highest for a flooding disaster in the Heisei Era (1989-present), and the figure will likely rise.

Minoru Katayama, 86, rushed back to his home in Mabi city, in Okayama prefecture, on Monday, and found his 88-year-old wife, Chiyoko, dead on the first floor.

The heavy rainfall stemmed from the remnants of a typhoon that hit south-western Japan last week. In Hiroshima, 12 people were caught up in landslides in the residential areas of Kawasumi in Kumano-cho section of Hiroshima.

Roads coated in dried mud in the Mabi district of Kurashiki threw up clouds of dust when rescue vehicles or cars drove by.

Almost 2 million people have been asked to evacuate the affected areas.

Although downpour since Thursday has ceased in most disaster-hit areas, the Japan Meteorological Agency warned the public of the danger of further landslides. Kyodo reported that 13 railroad operators were suspending services on 37 routes in western Japan and elsewhere on Monday.

With much of the affected area lacking fresh water and electricity and with temperatures and humidity soaring, the dangers of dehydration and water-born infections pose new risks.

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At least 100 people have died after heavy rainfall in Japan brought on floods and mudslides. One weather official noted that the region has "never experienced this kind of rain before".

They were rescued hours later, and returned to the town on Monday, where Ogawa found his telephone, filled with calls from concerned relatives and friends.

Members of the Japan self defence force are still rescuing people stranded by "historic" flooding and landslides in Japan.

At least 4 million people have been advised to evacuate surrounding areas. Hiroshima prefecture has been severely affected by rains. "This is a situation of extreme danger".

"The area became an ocean", 82-year-old resident Nobue Kakumoto told AFP Sunday, surveying the scene. "There are still many people who have been unaccounted for".

Rescue workers acknowledged the odds of finding people alive were getting longer. At the same time, it has been impossible to confirm the security and location of 78 others, " Suga told a news conference.

Japan's government set up an emergency management centre at the prime minister's office and some 54‚000 rescuers from the military‚ police and fire departments were dispatched across a wide swath of south-western and western Japan. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said "the rescue efforts are a race against time", as emergency workers hurry to rescue individuals waiting on the roofs of their homes in flooded villages, the Guardian reported. "There are still many people missing and others in need of help", BBC quoted him as saying.

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