Japan rains disaster toll rises to 199: government

Elias Hubbard
July 12, 2018

The death toll has already exceeded the recent most deadliest rain-related disaster in 2014, when at least 74 people were killed in landslides caused by torrential downpours in the Hiroshima region.

A quarter of flood-prone Mabi district of Kurashiki, sandwiched between two rivers, was inundated after a levee crumbled under the force of the torrent. The maps of mandatory evacuation areas indicate that an estimated 2 million people have been displaced from their homes, though it remains unclear how many of these structures will still be standing when citizens are able to return.

While the rains have relented, they have left behind devastation.

Minoru Katayama, 86, rushed back to his home in Mabi city, in Okayama prefecture, and found his 88-year-old wife, Chiyoko, collapsed on the first floor.

"Food is in short supply".

"We can not 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.

"No water, food, nothing gets here", Ichiro Tanabe, a 73-year-old resident in the neighboring port city of Kure, told the Mainichi newspaper.

Abe will visit other damaged prefectures on July 13 and 15. Thousands are now living in temporary shelter in school halls and gymnasiums.

In the city of Kurashiki, Teruo Sasai, whose house was flooded out, said he could not believe how much destruction had overtaken his neighborhood. He explained, "Rescues, saving lives and evacuations are a race against time".

"We can accept losing things like home appliances, but.it hurts that our memories are all gone", said Hiroko Fukuda.

At the end of last week rivers engorged by more than a metre (three feet) of rain burst their banks, engulfing entire villages and forcing people onto rooftops to await evacuation by helicopter.

In another hard-hit town, Ozu in Ehime prefecture, water supplies were entirely cut off and residents could not clean their mud-stained homes, or even their clothes.

By Tuesday morning, rescue workers were going door-to-door, looking for survivors - or victims - of the disaster.

According to the Japan Times, the death toll has risen to 81 on Sunday, while dozens remain missing.

Sadly, her young colt, Earth, is missing and is not thought to have survived the floods.

They were rescued hours later, and returned to the town on Monday, where Ogawa found his telephone, filled with calls from concerned relatives and friends.

Japan's meteorological agency has warned that fresh landslides may still occur, urging people to remain on guard.

"There are still many people missing and others in need of help", the prime minister told reporters on Sunday. Mr Abe is now in Okayama inspecting the extent of the damage.

Many social media users have criticised their actions.

The intensifying heat was expected to trigger thunderstorms on Wednesday, with authorities warning new landslides could be set off on mountainsides saturated with water.

"They're inside safe and drinking, when others are outside struggling".

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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