Death toll nears 200 in Japan weather disaster

Severe rainfall leaves dozens dead in Japan

(Reuters/Issei Kato) A truck stranded by floods on July 9.

The compound of a junior high school is flooded after heavy rains in Kurashiki, Okayama Prefecture, southwestern Japan.

Volunteers and supplies have begun to arrive in affected areas, although a local official in Kurashiki, Okayama Prefecture, said there are "not enough people or vehicles" to distribute the abundant aid.

Akira Tanimoto says his apartment narrowly survived the floods and mudslide at his residential complex over the weekend, and even if he wants to go back there with his wife and two pet birds, he can't because there is no water, power or food available.

As of Thursday morning, most of the railway companies had said they would be unable to resume service within the next few days.

Television footage showed a massive rescue operation, with some 1,850 people isolated in the city, according to public broadcaster NHK.

He wrote, "On behalf of the government and the people of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, I write to commiserate with the Government and people of Japan, following last week's torrential rain that caused floods and subsequent landslides in Western Japan, killing over one hundred and seventy six persons and forcing millions to evacuate their homes while dozens remain missing". Most of the deaths were in Hiroshima and the surrounding area, but the damage was widespread. Since Thursday, landslides and flooded rivers have trapped many people in their houses or on rooftops. "We've never experienced this kind of rain before", an official at the Japanese Meteorological Agency (JMA) told media. 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.

"We'll cut through all the bureaucracy to secure the goods people need for their lives, to improve life in the evacuation centres - such as air-conditioners as the hot days continue - and then secure temporary housing and the other things people need to rebuild their lives", Mr Abe said.

Further rain warnings are in effect, with more than 250mm (10 in) predicted to fall in some areas by Monday.

More than 200,000 households had no water a week after disaster struck and many thousands of people were homeless.

"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 Suga said Sunday. The front then remained in one place for an unusually long time, the JMA said. Manufacturers Mazda and Daihatsu said they had suspended work at plants in three prefectures. They were to decide later on Sunday on plans for the coming week.

At least 80 people have died in torrential rains that pummeled wide areas of western Japan. A decision about next week would be made on Monday, it said.

The government has already said it will set aside around $20 million for the relief effort and Abe said there would be financial support for local governments to help with the reconstruction effort.

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