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Japan floods :Death toll climbs, race o find survivors

Tokyo, July 9 :The death toll from the devastating floods after record rains pounded western Japan has reached 104 on Monday with some 50 others still missing after massive flooding and landslides destroyed homes and displaced tens of thousands.

Sukumo city in Kochi prefecture received 263 mm of rain in almost the same period of time.Hiroshima prefecture said they were caught off guard as the region was not used to torrents of rainfall, which began Friday and worsened through the weekend.

JAPAN’S Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has warned of a “race against time” to rescue flood victims as authorities issued new alerts over record rains that have killed at least 48 people and said 54,000 personnel had been mobilized for search-and-rescue efforts.

 

In Okayama Prefecture, one of the hardest-hit areas, more than 1,000 people were temporarily trapped on the roofs of buildings submerged by floods following the bursting of three dikes on the nearby Oda River. Most of them were rescued by boat or helicopter.

Rescue operations by Self-Defense Forces personnel and others were continuing in disaster-hit areas early Monday, as Japan’s weather agency warned the public of the continuing danger of landslides and flooding.

Manufacturing was also hit hard by the heavy downpour and flooding, as major carmakers such as Mazda Motor Corp and Mitsubishi Motors Corp and manufacturer such as Panasonic Corp suspending operations at some plants in Kyoto, Hiroshima and Yamaguchi in western Japan.

 

“The record rainfalls in various parts of the country have caused rivers to burst their banks, and triggered large scale floods and landslides in several areas,” Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said on Sunday.

Hundreds of homes have been destroyed or damaged. In all, eight prefectures have been affected, including Kyoto and Hiroshima.

The Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) has upgraded its alert system to the highest level in large areas of western Japan, while lifting the warning in other regions.

Japanese public broadcaster NHK reported about 364 mm of rain fell in some two hours over the weekend in the city of Uwajima — approximately 1.5 times the average monthly rainfall for July.

Sukumo city in Kochi prefecture received 263 mm of rain in almost the same period of time.

Shinkansen bullet train services partially suspended in most parts of western Japan and major arterial highways partially closed.

 

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