Japan floods: 'Extreme danger' amid record rainfall

Clay Curtis
July 13, 2018

Officials in Ehime prefecture asked the central government to review a weather warning system, noting that rain warnings were issued after damage and casualties were already reported, a possible cause of the region's extensive damage.

The severe weather took many people in southwest Japan by surprise.

In areas where search-and-rescue operations had ended, construction workers and residents worked in neighborhoods to clear mud and debris and restore vehicle access to the outside and get supplies and food.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe warned of a "race against time" to rescue flood victims on Sunday, as emergency response teams in the country's western regions search for at least 60 missing, after floods and landslides caused by torrential rains killed over 100 people.

"We are not able to use the toilet or take baths and our food stockpile is running low", said one of the flood affected resident.

"It is an undeniable fact that this sort of disaster due to torrential, unprecedented rains is becoming more frequent in recent years", Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said at a news conference in Tokyo.

(Reuters/Issei Kato) A auto is submerged at a flooded area in Mabi.

"We can not take baths, the toilet doesn't work, and our food stockpile is running low", 23-year old nursery school worker Yumeko Matsui tells NBC.

Areas impacted by the flooding in Japan. Supermarkets and convenience stores are also closed due to disrupted deliveries from road closures.

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A damaged auto is seen in floodwater on July 10, 2018 in Kurashiki, Japan.

More than 200,000 households had no water a week after disaster struck and many thousands of people were homeless. Residents lined up for water under the scorching sun as temperatures rose to 35C, raising risks of heat stroke.

The assessment of the number of injuries and deaths has been hard because of the wide area affected by the rainfall, flooding and landslides.

"The water level is expected to go down, as we are clearing driftwood and other rubble, but that's far from a guarantee of safety", he told AFP by phone.

In the town of Kumano in Hiroshima prefecture, rescue workers were still digging through the dirt of a landslide that enveloped homes over the weekend, crushing some into little more than scrap wood.

Some of the thousands of residents who had been evacuated, some rescued from their rooftops, began cleaning up after the rain stopped Monday. But for now, the government is focusing on working closely with local counterparts in an effort to save lives.

A new evacuation was ordered Tuesday for the town of Fuchu, after the Enoki River overflowed the previous day, the newspaper said.

On Thursday, he pledged to ramp up help for affected areas and said the government had secured around 71,000 temporary homes for evacuees.

Buildings are nearly submerged in floodwaters caused by heavy rains in Kurashiki, Okayama prefecture, southwestern Japan, on Saturday.

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