Published: Mon, July 09, 2018
Worldwide | By Lisa Hogan

Japan says death toll from floods climbs to 100

Japan says death toll from floods climbs to 100

President Cyril Ramaphosa sent a message of condolences to the people of Japan on Sunday and said that the thoughts of the South African people are with the people of Japan during this hard time. "I am confident that Japan will overcome this disaster with fortitude".

Over 50,000 rescue workers, police and military personnel have been mobilised to respond to the disaster, which has left entire villages submerged by flooding, with just the top of traffic lights visible above the rising waters.

As of Saturday, at least 67 people were missing with the majority in Hiroshima, 47, while others were unaccounted for in Ehime and Okayama Prefecture.

At least 31 people have died and others are still missing in western Japan areas hit by torrential rain over the past few days to Saturday, according to authorities.

The death toll from unprecedented rainfall in Japan has risen to at least 76, as widespread flooding forces millions from their homes.

Japanese public broadcaster NHK reported about 364 millimeters (14.3 inches) of rain fell between 5 a.m. and 7 a.m.in the city of Uwajima - approximately 1.5 times the average monthly rainfall for July.

Four people in Ehime, Hiroshima and Yamaguchi prefectures were in critical condition after being injured in landslides, it added.

"It's very painful", said one elderly man watching nearby. "If it were her, I wouldn't be able to stop crying".

"Rescue efforts are a battle with time", Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told reporters on Sunday.

"Severe caution is needed", an official of Japan's Meteorological Agency (JMA) told a news conference, warning of the potential for landslides and high winds.

Automakers including Mazda Motor Corp and Daihatsu Diesel Manufacturing Co suspended operations at several plants on Saturday due to a shortage of parts or risky conditions.

The heavy rains were brought by a rush of humid air from the south and the remnants of a typhoon this week.

"I've lived here for 40 years".

A total of 8.63 million people in 23 prefectures from the Kyushu to Hokuriku regions have been ordered to evacuate.

Evacuation orders stayed in place for almost two million people and another 2.3 million were advised to evacuate.

Later, as he walked around to inspect his neighbourhood, he saw many houses with the doors wide open, suggesting that residents had evacuated in a panic, he said.

The heaviest rainfall seen in Japan for decades has caused destruction over large parts of the country, particularly in the south-west, where 58 people are missing.

He did not bother to observe the Japanese custom of removing his shoes before entering his home, stepping over a muddle of debris piled outside the front door straight onto flooring caked in mud.

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