Rescuers race to find survivors of Japan floods as death toll hits 110

Published: July 09, 2018 14:53:08 | Updated: July 10, 2018 10:33:06


Rescuers conduct a search operation for missing persons in Kumano town, Hiroshima prefecture, western Japan on Monday - Reuters photo

Rescuers in western Japan dug through mud and rubble on Monday, racing to find survivors after torrential rains unleashed floods and landslides that killed more than 100 people, with dozens missing.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe cancelled an overseas trip because of the disaster, a ruling party source said. The trip would have taken him to Belgium, France, Saudi Arabia, and Egypt from Wednesday, according to a Reuters report.

Rain tapered off across the region battered by the downpour, revealing blue skies and scorching sun forecast to push temperatures above 30 degrees Celsius (86 degrees Fahrenheit), fuelling fears of heatstroke in areas cut off from power or water.

“We cannot take baths, the toilet doesn’t work and our food stockpile is running low,” said Yumeko Matsui, whose home in the city of Mihara has been without water since Saturday.

“Bottled water and bottled tea are all gone from convenience stores and other shops,” the 23-year-old nursery school worker said at an emergency water supply station.

Nearly 13,000 customers had no electricity, power companies said on Monday, while hundreds of thousands had no water.

The death toll reached at least 110 after floodwaters forced several million from their homes, NHK public television said, the worst flood disaster since 117 people were killed in heavy rains in 1983. A nine-year-old boy was among the dead.

Another 79 people were missing, NHK said.

Though continuous rain had ended, officials warned against sudden showers and thunderstorms as well as the risk of further landslides on steep mountainsides saturated over the weekend.

Industry operations have also been hit, with Mazda Motor Corp saying it was forced to close its head office in Hiroshima on Monday.

The automaker, which suspended operations at several plants last week, said the halt would continue at two plants until Tuesday because it cannot receive components, although both units were undamaged.

Daihatsu, which suspended production on Friday at up to four plants, said they would run the second evening shift on Monday.

Electronics maker Panasonic said operations at one plant remained suspended after the first floor was flooded.

Share if you like