Rescuers race to find survivors after Japan floods kill at least 112

Rescuers race to find survivors after Japan floods kill at least 112

KURASHIKI - Reuters
Rescuers race to find survivors after Japan floods kill at least 112

Rescuers in Japan dug through mud and rubble on July 9, racing to find survivors after torrential rain unleashed floods and landslides that killed at least 112 people, with dozens missing.

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.

Officials said the overall economic impact was not clear.

Rain tapered off across the western region on July 9 to reveal blue skies and a scorching sun that pushed temperatures well above 30 Celsius (86 Fahrenheit), fuelling fears of heat-stroke in areas cut off from power or water.

“We cannot take baths, the toilet doesn’t work and our food stockpile is running low,” said Yumeko Matsui, whose home in the city of Mihara, in Hiroshima prefecture, has been without water since July 7.

“Bottled water and bottled tea are all gone from convenience stores and other shops,” the 23-year-old nursery school worker said at an emergency water supply station.

Some 11,200 households had no electricity, power companies said on July 9, while hundreds of thousands had no water.

The death toll reached at least 112 with several million from their homes, NHK public television said. A nine-year-old boy was among the dead and 78 people were missing, NHK said.

Though the persistent rain had ended, officials warned of sudden showers and thunderstorms as well as of more landslides on steep mountainsides saturated over the weekend.

A ruling party official said Prime Minister Abe had canceled his trip to Belgium, France, Saudi Arabia and Egypt because of the disaster. He had been due to leave on July 11.

Industry operations have also been hit, with Mazda Motor Corp saying it was forced to close its head office in Hiroshima on July 9.

The automaker, which suspended operations at several plants last week, said the halt would continue at two plants until July 10 because it could not receive components, although both units were undamaged.

Electronics maker Panasonic said operations at one plant remained suspended after the first floor was flooded.

Japan, floods, Shinzo Abe