Japan Floods and Heavy Rain Leave at Least 55 Dead, Dozens Missing

Dozens dead and missing as 'historic rains' and floods hit Japan

Dozens dead and missing as 'historic rains' and floods hit Japan

The Japan Meteorological Agency says three hours of rainfall in one area in Kochi prefecture reached an accumulated 26.3 centimeters (10.4 inches), the highest since such records started in 1976.

Torrents of rainfall and flooding battered a widespread area in southwestern Japan on Saturday, with local media casualty reports climbing quickly.

Authorities warned landslides could strike even after rain subsides as the calamity shaped up to be potentially the worst in decades. The front then remained in one place for an unusually long time, the JMA said.

Thirteen were confirmed dead in Hiroshima Prefecture.

Throughout the hard-hit areas, rivers swelled and parked cars sat in pools of water.

In Okayama prefecture, rescue workers flew in helicopters over areas that are still under flood water and otherwise unreachable, looking for signs of life.

At an emergency meeting to deal with the disaster at his office in Tokyo, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe called for all-out search and rescue efforts. Evacuation orders had been issued to more than 360,000 people, the prefecture said in a statement.

Elsewhere, work crews tried to clear multiple small landslides that coated roads, rendering them virtually impassable.

People wait to be rescued on the top of a house nearly submerged in floodwaters caused by heavy rains in southwestern Japan. And two young girls and their mother died after they were sucked into a mudslide in the same region.

Residents look at a flooded road in Hiroshima on July 7, 2018.

In the town of Kumano in Hiroshima prefecture, rescue workers were still digging through the dirt of a landslide that enveloped homes over the weekend, crushing some into little more than scrap wood.

Some areas have been hit by more than a meter of rainfall, according to the government, while around 48,000 troops, police and firefighters have been deployed for rescue operations, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said.

If people did not have a special reason to travel to the affected regions, they should not go, but if they really had to, they should take care and remain aware of the weather situation, MOFA advised.

"There are still many people missing and others in need of help, we are working against time", Abe said on Sunday morning.

On the ground floor of their formerly well-decorated home, the powerful flood water had ripped away the outer layer of the walls, exposing the elaborate bamboo mesh inside.

A woman who had gone missing after leaving her home in Kameoka, Kyoto Prefecture, in her vehicle was found dead in a river in Nose, Osaka Prefecture, on Friday.

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