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

The nation's Meteorological Agency issued a special weather warning

The nation's Meteorological Agency issued a special weather warning

Search efforts continued in hardest-hit Hiroshima and Okayama prefectures, as well as their neighboring areas despite the elapse of the crucial 72-hour period, after which the odds of finding survivors decreases significantly.

Naoaki Ogawa, 68, was still at home with his wife, daughter and grandson on Friday night, when they saw a wave of mud carrying trees and cars with it tumble down the hill above and engulf the neighbouring house.

Scores of patients‚ some still in their pajamas‚ and nurses were rescued from the isolated Mabi Memorial Hospital in boats rowed by members of Japan's Self Defence Forces.

Although the government has yet to get a firm handle on the extent of the damage, some 347 homes were totally or partially destroyed and 9,868 homes were flooded as of Tuesday morning, according to the Fire and Disaster Management Agency.

Thousands of homes were still without clean water and electricity in Hiroshima and other hard-hit areas.

People prepared for risky search and cleanup efforts in southwestern Japan on Monday, where several days of heavy rainfall had set off flooding and landslides in a widespread area.

"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, in Hiroshima prefecture, has been without water since Saturday.

More than 30,000 people were staying at emergency shelters on Sunday afternoon, while authorities vowed to quickly rehouse displaced people in private accommodation or public housing.

Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe warned on July 8 of a "race against time" to rescue flood victims as authorities issued new alerts over record rains that have killed at least 48 people. HuffPost reports that evacuation orders or advisories were issued for 4.72 million people. "The frequency of heavy rain-linked disasters is on the rise, and we are facing the world where the rules learnt from your experiences no longer apply", Ohno said. In all, eight prefectures have been affected, including Kyoto and Hiroshima.

Japan is experiencing what could be one of the worst weather-related disasters in its history, following the heaviest rainfall the country has experienced for decades.

"We hope that the disaster area will soon be rebuilt and its people will return to their normal life as soon as possible", it said.

Some residents of Mabi had shrugged off the warnings, however, given the area's history of floods.

Refineries and oil terminals were not affected but blockages in roads leading to one Showa Shell oil terminal in Hiroshima caused gas and diesel shortages nearby.

The severe weather took many people in southwest Japan by surprise.

"It's what we call a grid operation, where we are checking every single house to see if there are people still trapped inside them", an official with the local Okayama prefecture government told AFP.

Local government officials said pumping trucks were being deployed to help restore access to some of the worst-hit areas.

Notícias recomendadas

We are pleased to provide this opportunity to share information, experiences and observations about what's in the news.
Some of the comments may be reprinted elsewhere in the site or in the newspaper.
Thank you for taking the time to offer your thoughts.