Thursday, 17 October, 2019

Flooding and landslides in Japan leave at least 85 dead

Fire fighters helps residents to get off boats in Kurashiki Okayama Prefecture Fire fighters helps residents to get off boats in Kurashiki Okayama Prefecture
Patty Aguilar | 10 July, 2018, 17:10

Power has been restored to all but 3,500 customers, but more than 200,000 remain without water under scorching sun, with temperatures set to hit 33 degrees Celsius amid high humidity in some of the hardest-hit areas, such as the city of Kurashiki. At least 119 people are dead from flooding and landslides, with tens of thousands still missing and search and rescue operations now underway, the Japan Times reported.

Following several days of heavy rainfall that catalyzed great floods and landslides, Japanese media reports that at least 94 individuals have been killed while at least 58 others are unaccounted for.

So far 1.5million people have been forced to leave their homes, with 3million more advised to do so or face the devastating consequences brought by the flooding.

A quarter of flood-prone Mabi, sandwiched between two rivers, was inundated after one of the area's levees crumbled under the force of last week's torrents.

But this rainfront has been unprecedented: record rainfall was recorded in the 72 hours to Sunday at 118 government observation points across the affected area, the weather agency told AFP.

Officials in Ehime prefecture asked the government to review its weather warning system, noting that rain warnings were issued after damage and casualties already had occurred. The Japan Meteorological Agency has reported that one area of the Kochi prefecture experienced a staggering 26.3 centimeters (10.4 inches) of precipitation in just three hours, almost as much as the average amount for the entire month of July (32.8 centimeters or 12.9 inches), typically southwestern Japan's second wettest month after June. Many people in regions affected by the disaster told AFP that the rains were unlike anything they had seen before. Thousands have evacuated their homes.

Rescuers in Japan dig through mud and rubble, racing to find survivors after widespread floods and landslides.

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Residents sheltering at the Yano school were provided with water, blankets and cellphone chargers.

Kazuhiko Ono, who owns a secondhand book store in Hiroshima city, was unable to return to his home and store when the rains first arrived.

Koji Tsunomori, 54, lost his 44-year-old wife Nana, whom he married around three weeks ago, in a mudslide in the town of Kumano in Hiroshima.

"It was terrifying", said Kaita resident Yuichi Tada.

Ryutaro Hirakawa, 18, said he fled his house after smelling a unusual odour coming from the ground, a sign of a landslide.

"I'm a secondhand book seller", Ono said. "The front of our house became a river, and was making a huge noise", he said.

The prime minister had planned to depart for Europe and the Middle East, but those plans reportedly have been canceled. "There are still many people missing and others in need of help, we are working against time", Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said.

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