Japan floods and landslides kill dozens; millions evacuated

Japan floods and landslides kill dozens; millions evacuated

Japan floods and landslides kill dozens; millions evacuated

Thousands of people were said to have been left stranded in the Hiroshima prefecture as Prime Minister Shinzo Abe warned authorities face a "race against time" to save them.

People wait to be rescued on the top of a house nearly submerged in floodwaters caused by heavy rains in southwestern Japan. Road blockages and power outages have also forced many companies to halt operations until the circumstances lift. The rains have triggered mudslides and landslides that have killed people who got caught outside.

Japan's government set up an emergency management center at the prime minister's office and some 54,000 rescuers from the military, police, and fire departments were dispatched across a wide swath of southwestern and western Japan.

Some 210,000 people were in areas subjected to evacuation orders, though only some of them usually show up at shelters, especially at night when people are advised to stay indoors.

Further rain warnings are in effect, with more than 250mm predicted to fall in some areas by Monday.

A residential area in Okayama prefecture, on the main island of Honshu, was seeped in brown water spreading like a huge lake.

As of Sunday evening, local Japanese media reports say at least 88 people have died and 58 are missing, according to TIME.

A kimono-clad woman using a smartphone takes photos of swollen Kamo River, caused by a heavy rain, from Shijo Bridge in Kyoto, western Japan, in this photo taken by Kyodo July 5, 2018.

Public broadcaster NHK said flooding and landslides were hindering rescue efforts and repeatedly urged people not to lose hope. In the town of Kumano in Hiroshima Prefecture, at least one person was confirmed dead while 12 were missing.

As of Saturday, at least 67 people were missing with the majority in Hiroshima, 47, while others were unaccounted for in Ehime and Okayama Prefecture.

"I went to my father's family home but it was hopeless", one man said. Nine homes were destroyed, dozens more were damaged, while more than 500 were flooded. "I was just able to escape, but I was terrified", 62-year-old Yuzo Hori told the Mainichi Shimbun daily in Hiroshima.

The Okayama prefecture said three people had died, six others were missing and seven were injured, while almost 500 were flooded.

Though the typhoon began last week, the worst of the rain hit from Thursday, when a construction worker was swept away by floodwaters in western Japan.

Businesses continued to be affected, with automaker Mazda Motor Corp. and Daihatsu Motor Co., a minivehicle making unit of Toyota Motor Corp., suspending operations in factories in Kyoto, Hiroshima and Yamaguchi.

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