Friday, 20 July, 2018

Japan floods and heavy rain leave 8 dead, dozens missing

People look at the swollen Kamo River in central Kyoto western Japan following heavy rain People look at the swollen Kamo River in central Kyoto western Japan following heavy rain
Faye Gross | 08 July, 2018, 09:19

Hundreds of thousands of people across a wide swathe of western and central Japan were evacuated from their homes today as torrential rains pounded the nation, flooding rivers, setting off landslides and leaving at least two people dead.

Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told his ministers to "make an all-out effort" to rescue victims, saying: "The situation is extremely serious".

Suga said the whereabouts of 92 people are unknown, mostly in the southern area of Hiroshima Prefecture.

Kochi Prefecture, on Shikoku, issued landslide warnings nearly over the entire island.

As of 11 p.m. on July 6, evacuation orders had been issued to about 2.82 million people and evacuation advisories had been issued to some 4.22 million people in 23 prefectures, majority in the Kinki, Kyushu and Chugoku regions in western Japan.

Television footage showed a residential area in Okayama prefecture seeped in brown water spreading like a huge lake.

The "historic" rainfall will keep battering saturated parts of Japan through Sunday, Japan's Meteorological Agency said.

The government has deployed almost 50,000 troops, police and firefighters for rescue operations, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said.

Evacuation orders were issued for locations in Kyoto, Nagaokakyo and Oyamazaki in Kyoto Prefecture, as well as in Minoo, Hirakata and Takatsuki in northern Osaka Prefecture, an area hit by the magnitude-6.1 quake on June 18.

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Among the missing is a nine-year-old boy who is believed to be trapped in his house by a landslide that left at least three others dead.

"We are also looking after evacuees and restoring lifeline infrastructure like water and gas", he added.

Evacuation orders were issued Thursday for 143,000 people in Kyoto Prefecture and 9,700 others in Osaka Prefecture amid an escalating risk of mudslides following heavy rain in western Japan.

Another woman in the same district was found dead on the second floor of a home hit by a landslide.

"The kids could not climb up to the rooftop", she said.

Kyodo news service, which put the death tally at 34, said one death was in a landslide in Hiroshima, which had set off a fire, while the body of a child was found in another area.

Dozens of people have been killed by landslides and flash floods caused by torrential rain in Japan.

Several major manufacturers, including carmakers Daihatsu and Mitsubishi, said they had suspended operations at plants in the affected areas.

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