Rescuers in southwestern Japan dug up more bodies today as they searched for dozens still missing after heavy rains caused severe flooding and left residents to return to their homes unsure where to start the cleanup. More than 100 people were confirmed dead in the disaster. The Fire and Disaster Management Agency said 110 people were confirmed dead as of tonight. Officials and media reports said at least 80 people were still unaccounted for, many of them in the hardest-hit Hiroshima area.
The prime minister, Shinzo Abe, cancelled a trip to Europe and the Middle East that was due to start on Wednesday and expanded the search and rescue effort, which involves 73,000 members of the self-defence force, police officers, firefighters and coastguard personnel. Abe said earlier today that the government had dispatched 73,000 troops and emergency workers for the search and rescue effort. “The rescue teams are doing their utmost,” he said. Japanese Pm Shinzo Abe said “There are still many people missing and others in need of help, we are working against time”.
The Japan Meteorological Agency said as much as 10 centimeters (3 inches) of rain per hour fell on large parts of southwestern Japan. All rain warnings have been lifted.
Almost 2 million people were still subject to evacuation orders on Monday, while tens of thousands of rescue workers battled mud, water and rubble to search for survivors stranded in their homes.
The heaviest rainfall seen in Japan for decades has caused destruction over large parts of the country, particularly in Hiroshima and other parts of the south-west, making it difficult for authorities to assess the damage and the number of casualties.
The extent of this calamity is palpable with television footage showing people stranded and subsequently being rescued at the local Mabi Memorial Hospital, streets flooded with muddy water and other rescue scenes.
The death toll from torrential rain and landslides in western Japan rose to 81 people yesterday, with dozens still missing after more than 2,000, temporarily stranded in the city of Kurashiki, were rescued. Rescuers got to work with boats and helicopters to rescue those stranded, including, 100 people at a local hospital.
The flooding is mostly due to excess rainfall that caused the local river to overflow its banks. Kurashiki was worst hit by the rain that affected parts of western Japan. This amount of rainfall is unprecedented at three times the expected precipitation in July.
The national broadcaster NHK is predicting more rainfall in some areas over the course of the next day. Many people were confined in their houses or on rooftops owing to the flash floods and mudslides set off by incessant rain.
A Japanese official from the Japanese Meteorological Agency commented “We’ve never experienced this kind of rain before” before going on to state that these were precarious circumstances.
Japan’s government has got to work with an emergency management center set up to meet the need for rescue and relief and 54,000 rescuers from the police, military and dire departments have been dispatched to carry out rescue and relief efforts in rain affected regions.
Evacuation Orders in Place
Emergency warnings and evacuation orders were implemented in parts of rain ravaged Japan. 2 million people have received evacuation orders while 2.3 were advised to evacuate. Emergency warnings were served in 3 prefectures owing to a prediction of 300mm or 11 inches of rainfall right up to Monday morning in these areas.