Thursday, 19 July, 2018

Japan: Toll rises to 100 as torrential rain causes flooding, landslides

Japan floods leave at least 64 people dead and scores missing At least 60 are killed in deluges and landslides as record downpours hit Japan
Deanna Wagner | 10 July, 2018, 17:11

The rain may have stopped in Japan, but the country is facing a long recovery process after floods and landslides killed at least 90 people in the southwest.

Yoshihide Suga said at least ten people were still missing, though local media said dozens were still unaccounted for as rescue operations continue.

The Japanese government set up an emergency task force over the weekend dispatching thousands of troops, firefighters, police and other disaster relief teams.

While authorities search for the missing, residents begin the cleanup, wading through flooded houses and streets. Almost 17,000 households are still without power, and phone lines are down across multiple prefectures.

In one part of Kumano, the nose of a white vehicle was just visible underneath the top floor of a home that had been torn from the rest of the building and swept down a hillside.

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. Some, unable to leave, took shelter on their rooftops as flash floods swallowed entire streets.

A helicopter flies over Mabi town which was flooded by the heavy rain in Kurashiki, Okayama Prefecture, Japan, in this photo taken by Kyodo July 9, 2018.

The bodies of three girls were found in the area of a collapsed embankment in the Fukuyama city part of Hiroshima.

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In the town of Saka, Eiichi Tsuiki opted to stay in his home, and survived only by moving to the top floor as flood waters rose, washing away cars outside.

"I'm so sad I lost many books", Ono said. I want to tell them that I am okay.

Businesses have also been hard hit and there is expected to be an element of business interruption to the eventual insurance and perhaps reinsurance losses that result from the torrential rains and flooding.

Seiji Toda told Japan's TBS television he was shocked and felt helpless when he saw that his restaurant in Hiroshima had been destroyed by a landslide.

Japanese public broadcaster NHK reported about 364 millimeters (14.3 inches) of rain fell between 5 a.m. and 7 a.m. Sunday in the city of Uwajima - approximately 1.5 times the average monthly rainfall for July.

Even as the rains let up, authorities warned the downpours had loosened earth on hillsides and mountain slopes creating new risks.

Rescue workers carried out house-to-house searches Tuesday, July 10, in the increasingly unlikely hope of finding survivors after days of deadly floods and landslides that have claimed 156 lives in Japan's worst weather-related disaster for decades.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who had canceled a planned trip to Europe and the Middle East this week to oversee the emergency response, will visit disaster-hit areas in the Okayama prefecture, Suga said.