Published: Mon, July 09, 2018
Global Media | By Abel Hampton

Japan Floods and Heavy Rain Leave at Least 55 Dead, Dozens Missing

Japan Floods and Heavy Rain Leave at Least 55 Dead, Dozens Missing

Record-breaking torrential rain in the west of Japan has claimed at least 80 lives, while dozens remain missing.

"We've never experienced this kind of rain before", an official at the Japanese Meteorological Agency told reporters.

The assessment of casualties has been hard because of the widespread area affected by the rainfall, flooding and landslides.

Later, as he walked around to inspect his neighbourhood, he saw many houses with the doors wide open, suggesting that residents had evacuated in a panic, he said. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe warned of a "race against time" to rescue flood victims, with many people still unaccounted for.

Emergency warnings for severe rain in 11 prefectures - the most since a new warning system was introduced in 2013 - had been lifted by evening, but advisories for heavy rain and landslides remained in effect in many areas.

Chief cabinet secretary Yoshihide Suga said about 48,000 police, firefighters and members of Japan's Self-Defence Forces were responding to appeals for help.

TV footage showed crews in military trucks delivering emergency water supplies to areas where water infrastructure was down, while troops in boats helped people and pets safely reach dry land.

"The situation is extremely unsafe", wrote a Twitter user in Kochi, a city on the smallest main island of Shikoku, where the rain has been especially intense.

"Water came to the middle of the second floor", a woman in Kurashiki, Okayama Prefecture, wrote, posting a picture of her room half swamped by flooding.

A woman who was reported as missing after getting trapped in her vehicle was found but was pronounced dead, Kyodo news service reported.

A nursing home is reportedly flooded in Kurashiki City, although further details are still unknown. Also in Ehime, two elementary schoolgirls and their mother who got sucked into a mudslide were pulled out but could not be revived, it said.

Thirteen were confirmed dead in Hiroshima Prefecture.

Businesses continued to be affected, with automaker Mazda Motor Corp. and Daihatsu Motor Co., a minivehicle making unit of Toyota Motor Corp., suspending operations in factories in Kyoto, Hiroshima and Yamaguchi.

Traffic in the western part of Japan was also seriously affected, with some train and bullet train services suspended.

An overturned auto remains on a street after heavy rain in Ozu, Ehime Prefecture, Japan.

The Hiroshima prefecture was the worst hit, with 29 people dead, while 19 were killed in Ehime prefecture, according to NHK World.

Japan on Thursday ordered the evacuation of thousands of residents from the outskirts of its ancient capital of Kyoto after "historic" rains battered its western region, killing a man, with yet more rain forecast.

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