Death toll rises to 155 in Japan flooding, mudslides

Elias Hubbard
July 12, 2018

Their beloved parakeets, Pi-chan and Kyako-chan, were alive but their apartment was barely intact from the deluge.

"I can't go back if I wanted to", the 66-year-old retired Self-Defence serviceman said, holding a bird cage, in which the birds chirped as he spoke.

A submerged Toyota Motor's auto is seen in a flooded area in Mabi town in Kurashiki, Okayama Prefecture, Japan, July 9, 2018. At Tanimoto's apartment complex, about a dozen victims have been found.

Many areas were buried deep in mud that smelled like sewage and had hardened in the heat, making the search more hard. Supplies such as water, blankets and cellphone chargers were provided.

Bryan Lynn wrote this story for VOA Learning English, based on reports from the Associated Press, Reuters and Agence France-Presse. "We raised our three small sons to adulthood here, there are so many memories", she said, her eyes welling with tears.

Their foundations are also made of wood, which can be ideal for flexibility in the case of earthquakes, but stand little chance of withstanding the crushing pressure produced by a torrent of flood water or a massive landslide. Regional supermarket chains such as Every Co said one outlet is closed and several other outlets shortened service hours due to delivery delays and supply shortage. Residents lined up for water under the scorching sun as temperatures rose to 35C, raising risks of heat stroke.

"I'm really grateful to the rescuers", said Shigeyuki Asano, a 79-year-old patient who spent a night without electricity or water.

Record-breaking rain: Japan's Meteorological Agency said that three hours of rainfall in one area of Kochi prefecture had reached 26.3 centimeters (10.4 inches), so far the highest rain accumulation since 1976, when the organization began measuring rainfall.

Nearly 2 million people were still subject to evacuation orders, while tens of thousands of rescue workers battled mud, water and rubble to search for survivors stranded in their homes.

In areas where search-and-rescue operations had ended, construction workers and residents worked in neighbourhoods to clear mud and debris and restore vehicle access to the outside and get supplies and food. (AAP) A truck dangles precariously from an incline in Kumano Town, Hiroshima Prefecture.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe canceled a planned overseas trip this week and instead visited displaced residents at an evacuation center in flood-hit Okayama prefecture on Wednesday, according to Japanese news agency Kyodo News.

More than 50,000 members of the self-defence force, police officers, firefighters and coastguard personnel, aided by helicopters and paddle boats, were trying to rescue people from buildings, some of them stranded on rooftops just metres above the waterline.

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

Experts say Japan's warning system is problematic, with the decision to issue evacuation orders often left to local officials who may have no disaster management experience.

The toll in record rains that have devastated parts of Japan has risen to 179, the government's top spokesman said Wednesday.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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