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Death Toll Exceeds 100 After Heavy Rainfall Slams Japan
10 July 2018, 05:10 | Glen Norman
Flooding and landslides have killed at least 50 people and left dozens missing in western areas of Japan
With the toll mounting, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe cancelled a four-country foreign trip, the government's top spokesman said.
Suga said Abe was scheduled to visit Belgium, France, South Arabia and Egypt, beginning Wednesday.
A resident is rescued in a flooded area in Kurashiki, Okayama prefecture, following heavy rain.
"I have asked my family to prepare for the worst", said Kosuke Kiyohara, 38, as he waited for word of his sister and her two young sons in the town of Kumano.
"I can't reach her phone", he told AFP, sitting across from a house that had been ripped apart and tossed on its side by a huge landslide.
Rescue workers acknowledged the odds of finding people alive were getting longer.
"It has been three days".
At one point, evacuation orders or advisories were issued for up to 5.9 million people in 19 prefectures, according to a tally by Kyodo News.
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In Takehara, mudslides on Saturday crushed homes.
But they were moving carefully, looking as they went for survivors, or the remains of those killed in the disaster.
Helicopters and boats are being used to rescue people still trapped by flooding in areas like Okayama Prefecture, where Kurashiki is located. Rivers overflowed, landslides crushed buildings, and cars were swept away by floodwater.
Water was still flowing from the surrounding hillsides around the feet of shellshocked residents, some of whom wept as they saw their damaged district.
Around 23,000 people are now in evacuation centers after fleeing the historic deluge and 73,000 disaster response workers have been recruited to assist in rescue efforts.
Local government officials said pumping trucks were being deployed to help restore access to some of the worst-hit areas.
About 70 percent of Japan's land is made up of mountains and hills, so homes are often built on steep slopes, or flood-prone flat plains below them.
Suga warned that although the rain warnings had been lifted, residents should still watch for landslides.
"We've never had this kind of rain before", a Japanese Meteorological Agency official said.
Thousands of homes were without clean water and electricity in Hiroshima and other hard-hit areas, where many people lined up for water tanks under the scorching sun, with temperature rising as high as 34C.
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.
Water still covered much of the hard-hit city of Kurashiki, despite ebbing floods that opened the route to a hospital where almost 100 patients and staff were stranded on Sunday.
"No water, food, nothing gets here", Ichiro Tanabe, a 73-year-old Kure resident, told the Mainichi newspaper.
A man and his wife protect their home from water with sand bags in Saka, Hiroshima prefecture.
"I've lived here for 40 years".
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