Published: Fri, July 13, 2018
People | By Neil Grant

Abe visiting flood-hit western Japan as deaths reach 176

Abe visiting flood-hit western Japan as deaths reach 176

About 1,000 rescuers looked for people cut off in their homes and searched in flooded areas of the city of Kurashiki, Okayama Prefecture.

The record downpours triggered a series of mudslides around Hiroshima and Okayama prefectures, as well as flooding homes across a wide swath of the region from Friday afternoon to early Saturday, raising Japan's highest death toll in a rain-related natural disaster since 1982, The Japan Times reported.

He says the United Nations chief "commended the government's efforts to help people affected and expressed his admiration for the domestic search and rescue teams helping those in need".

Since Thursday parts of western Japan have received three times the usual rainfall for the whole of July, setting off floods and landslides.

In Hiroshima, 12 people were caught up in landslides in the residential areas of Kawasumi in Kumano-cho section of Hiroshima.

Desperate family members of missing locals waited nearby for word of their relatives. Flash floods soon followed, along with landslides that swept away cars, buildings, and people.

The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu, in a statement said Buhari conveyed his condolence message in a letter addressed to the Prime Minister of Japan, Shinzo Abe.

In one of the most dramatic rescues, patients and staff - some still in their pyjamas - were helped from the balcony of a hospital in the city of Kurashiki on Sunday and rowed to safety on military paddle boats.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe visited an evacuation centre in the city of Kurashiki in Okayama prefecture, where more than 40 of the 176 victims died.

In the message, Francis expressed his solidarity with all those affected, offered his encouragement to rescue crews and said he was praying for the dead and injured "and the consolation of all those who grieve". In Kurashiki, the receding floods have left a layer of silt on everything that was underwater.

He said at least 18 people were missing in Okayama alone, and that several thousand people were checking houses across the region.

"I can't reach her phone", he told AFP on Monday, sitting across from a house that had been ripped apart and tossed on its side by a huge landslide.

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. A 64-year-old man and a 9-year-old boy were found dead underneath a mudslide. It is unclear whether the storm will make direct landfall, but residents are being advised to take precautionary measures. Numerous climate change models have suggested that Japan will see an increased frequency and intensity of heavy rain days in coming years.

Abe said the government obtained temporary housing for people whose homes were damaged or lost so they could move in and be more comfortable.

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