At least 100 dead in Japan floods

10 July, 2018, 01:38 | Author: Genevieve Gibbs
  • People look at the swollen Kamo River in central Kyoto western Japan following heavy rain

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.

A convenience store worker, who had fled to a nearby rooftop, said water had reached as high as his head.

"I went to my father's family home but it was hopeless", a man in submerged Kurashiki City said, according to the BBC.

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.

Almost 60 people still remain unaccounted for, according to national broadcaster NHK.

At least 100 people are believed to have died, and another 80 people are unaccounted for, after heavy rains and mudslides thrashed southern Japan.

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With the death toll already at 119 as of Monday, July 9, torrential rains brought about by seasonal storm fronts are expected to bring further damage to Western Japan, according to official reports in Japan.

Search and rescue operations have been continuing in disaster-hit areas, like Hiroshima Prefecture where 44 people have been pronounced dead. "This is a situation of extreme danger".

"All I have is what I'm wearing", a rescued woman clutching a toy poodle told NHK television.

"Rescues, saving lives and evacuations are a race against time", Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said as he met a government crisis cell set up to respond to the disaster.

Many severe warnings have been lifted as the rains ease, aiding rescue efforts.

Evacuation orders were in place for almost 2 million people and landslide warnings were issued in many prefectures.

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Record downpours have battered the southwest of the country since Thursday, causing a series of floods and landslides affecting Hiroshima and Okayama prefectures in particular.

A Hiroshima resident, Seiji Toda, took precautions because of his memories of flooding four years ago that killed more than 70 people in Hiroshima.

"Unusual weather patterns are a factor that corporations have to consider when making economic projections, but there is not much one can do", said Koya Miyamae, a senior economist at SMBC Nikko Securities.

The rains crippled transportation networks, with bus and train services partly or completely shut down in 15 prefectures. They were to decide later on Sunday on plans for the coming week.

Electronics maker Panasonic said operations at one plant remained suspended after the first floor was flooded. A decision about next week would be made on Monday, it said.

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