Japan floods kill over 100 as rescuers dig
Rescuers in western Japan are racing to find survivors after torrential rains unleashed floods and landslides that killed more than 100 people, with dozens still missing.
Rain tapered off across the region battered by last week’s downpour, revealing scorching sun forecast to push temperatures above 30 degrees Celsius, 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 109 after floodwaters forced several million from their homes, NHK national television said, with another 79 missing.
Elsewhere, people soldiered through the grim task of recovery.
At one landslide in Hiroshima, shattered piles of lumber marked the sites of former homes, television images showed. Others had been tossed upside down.
“Nobody’s heard from my next door neighbour,” one man told NHK. “I hope they find him soon.”
Water still covered much of the hard-hit city of Kurashiki, despite ebbing floods that opened the route to a hospital where nearly 100 patients and staff were stranded on Sunday.
Although evacuation orders were scaled back from the weekend, nearly two million people still face orders or advice to keep away from homes, officials said.
Due to the crisis, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is scrapping a trip to Europe and the Middle East that had been planned to start this week.