Japan prime minister cancels overseas trip as rain toll hits 100

Marsha Scott
July 10, 2018

The death toll from landslides and floods caused by widespread torrential rain across western Japan has risen to 112, with at least three others in a critical condition, public broadcaster NHK said Monday. In Sukumo City in Kochi prefecture, 263 millimeters (10.3 inches) of rain fell in two hours, NHK said.

In the town of Kumano in Hiroshima prefecture, rescue workers were still digging through the dirt of a landslide that enveloped homes over the weekend, crushing some into little more than scrap wood. Tables, covered with clean white tablecloths before he left, were all mud-covered, chairs thrown to the floor.

At least 34,000 homes in western Japan were without power, and recovery work was hard because many roads were cut off by landslides.

Heavy rain was forecast to continue through Sunday in the west and the east, agency official Minako Sakurai told reporters. Seven & i Holdings Co Ltd also shut 17 of its shops, Takumi Yamaguchi, a spokesman for the company, said.

Some homes were smashed, while others were tilting precariously. Rivers overflowed, turning towns into lakes, leaving dozens of people stranded on rooftops.

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.

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"There are many cases of disconnected water supply", he said, adding that officials were trying to provide relief so people would have access to drinking and bath water. "The smell of soil and grass was so strong when I opened the window", he said.

"The area became an ocean", 82-year-old resident Nobue Kakumoto told AFP Sunday, surveying the scene. "In front of our house had become a river, and was making a huge noise", he said. "We are fully committed to life-saving rescue and evacuation", he said.

Japan's government set up an emergency management centre at the prime minister's office and some 54,000 rescuers from the military, police and fire departments were dispatched across a wide swath of southwestern and western Japan.

Two sisters from an elementary school with just six students on the small island of Nuwa in Ehime prefecture also died, according to Reuters.

The Yomiuri Shimbun Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will cancel visits to four countries - Belgium, France, Saudi Arabia and Egypt - scheduled for Wednesday to July 18, according to sources. A nine-year-old boy was among the dead.

Other reports by MaliBehiribAe

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