Japan floods: At least 100 dead in record rainfall

12 July, 2018, 19:16 | Author: Myra Gill
  • Severe rainfall leaves dozens dead in Japan

The disaster is the deadliest rain-related crisis in Japan since 2014, when at least 74 people were killed in landslides caused by torrential downpours in the Hiroshima region.

A man stands next to a flooded residential area in Kurashiki, Okayama prefecture.

Nearly 2 million people were still subject to evacuation orders, while tens of thousands of rescue workers battled mud, water and rubble to search for survivors stranded in their homes.

Scientists have warned that one outcome of global warming could be an increase in rain-related disasters, and experts now say people should leave well in advance of evacuation orders where forecasts show heavy rain is possible.

Japan was hit with heavy rainfall this weekend, forcing over two million people to leave their homes and leaving a rising death toll in its wake. The government has sent water trucks to affected places, but supplies remain limited.

It's also one of the deadliest natural disasters to hit the island nation since an quake struck off the coast of Tohoku in 2011, triggering a massive tsunami that crippled the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant.

"Food is in short supply".

Numerous traditional-style houses in rural Japan are also built of wood, which means their foundations are more suited to withstand earthquakes than the crushing impact of a torrent of flood water.

Some 8.63m people across 23 prefectures have been ordered to evacuate. Thousands are now living in temporary shelter in school halls and gymnasiums.

At least 42 people were still unaccounted-for in Hiroshima Prefecture, while the search continued for 18 in Okayama Prefecture. Floodwaters rose so fast they caught the couple by surprise.


"We are cut off from the road and we can't go anywhere by auto", Mr Hyuga said.

Younger victims included two sisters who attended a primary school with just six pupils on the sparsely populated island of Nuwa.

Bryan Lynn wrote this story for VOA Learning English, based on reports from the Associated Press, Reuters and Agence France-Presse.

There was one brighter piece of news when it emerged that a miniature horse had survived three days stranded on a roof before being rescued by aid workers when flood waters receded.

Pictures of Leaf, a pet at an old people's home in the town of Kurashiki in Okayama, had captured hearts around the country. According to the Japan Times, the death toll has risen to 81 on Sunday, while dozens remain missing.

Sadly, her young colt, Earth, is missing and is not thought to have survived the floods.

They were rescued hours later, and returned to the town on Monday, where Ogawa found his telephone, filled with calls from concerned relatives and friends. Authorities warned that landslides could strike even after the rain subsides.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe reportedly mobilized 54,000 personnel for search-and-rescue efforts and set up an emergency task force for the first time since the Kumamoto earthquakes in 2016.

Abe is also planning to visit the prefectures of Hiroshima and Ehime in the coming days, Kyodo News reported.

The premier faced some criticism after a photograph made the rounds on Twitter showing him and the defence minister at a dinner with lawmakers last Thursday, just as the rain was worsening.

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