Japan rains disaster toll rises to 199 as new warnings issued

Blanche Robertson
July 12, 2018

"I can't go back if I wanted to", Tanimoto, 66, told The Associated Press.

After their desperate run from floods that had hit the apartment complex where about a dozen of his neighbours were found dead, he returned to his place on Monday to check on his apartment, which was nearly intact. Their beloved parakeets, Pi-chan and Kyako-chan, were alive but their apartment was barely intact from the deluge.

This handout picture taken on July 9, 2018 by the NGO Peace Winds Japan shows a miniature horse stranded on a rooftop due to the recent flooding in the Mabicho area in Kurashiki, Okayama prefecture, Japan.Emergency service workers arrive to search for people following a landslide, July 10, 2018, in Yanohigashi near Hiroshima, Japan.

A vehicle sits submerged in mud following a landslide, July 10, 2018, in Yanohigashi near Hiroshima, Japan.

Rescuers in Japan dug through mud and rubble on Monday, racing to find survivors after torrential rain unleashed floods and landslides that killed at least 114 people, with dozens missing.

The heavy rains began with a typhoon front that hit as Japan entered its yearly typhoon season. At Tanimoto's apartment complex, about a dozen victims have been found.

Eighty-one remain missing, while more than 23,000 have been evacuated, as relief efforts continue in the Chugoku and Shikoku region disaster areas, the Sankei Shimbun reported.

Residents sheltering at a local elementary school in Hiroshima's Yano district were provided with water, blankets and cellphone chargers.

A woman riding a scooter passes ruined goods stacked following heavy flooding in Kurashiki, Japan.

A three-year-old whose home was hit by a landslide in Hiroshima has also died, according to a Reuters report.

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Economists said it was too early to assess the overall impact but it was likely to be limited.

Torrential rains triggered landslides and floods in central and western areas.

Almost 13,000 customers had no electricity, power companies said on Monday, while hundreds of thousands had no water. Residents lined up for water under the scorching sun as temperatures rose to 35C, raising risks of heat stroke. Numerous landslides also occurred in the Ehime Prefecture city of Uwajima, cutting off mountain roads and hitting homes.

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

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe canceled an overseas trip to deal with Japan's worst flood disaster since 1983, with several million people forced from their homes. 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.

The government has sent out water trucks but supplies remain limited.

A man walks past a damaged street in Saka, Hiroshima prefecture.

There was no word on the numbers affected, but the area has already been inundated once. One weather official noted that the region has "never experienced this kind of rain before".

The toll in flood-related incidents in western Japan has risen to 200, police said on Thursday, according to Kyodo News Agency.

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