Japan floods: 'Extreme danger' amid record rainfall


Record-breaking rain: Japan's Meteorological Agency said that three hours of rainfall in one area of Kochi prefecture had reached 26.3 centimeters (10.4 inches), so far the highest rain accumulation since 1976, when the organization began measuring rainfall.

Over 50,000 rescue workers, police and military personnel have been mobilized to respond to the disaster, which has left entire villages submerged by flooding and left just the top of traffic lights visible above the rising waters.

Even as the rains let up, authorities warned the downpours had loosened earth on hillsides and mountain slopes creating new risks.

"We recognize more than 100 cases in which people, including those hit by landslides, are in need of rescue now", Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told a press conference Saturday.

Many people in regions affected by the disaster told AFP that the rains were unlike anything they had seen before.

The death toll rose to at least 81 yesterday, with dozens still missing and several million forced to evacuate from their homes as a result of the rainfall.

Local residents sit in a boat as they are rescued from a flooded area at a hospital in Kurashiki, Okayama Prefecture, Japan, in this photo taken by Kyodo July 8, 2018.

On Sunday, the prime minister, Shinzo Abe, said efforts to locate those still stranded had turned into a "race against time".

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Elderly residents look at half submerged homes in floodwater from heavy rains, in Kurashiki, Okayama prefecture in southwestern Japan.

More than two million people across parts of central and western Japan have been issued similar orders, but they are not mandatory. Landslide warnings were issued in more than a quarter of the nation's prefectures.

"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.

The Japanese Government set up an emergency office over the weekend, designed for crises such as major earthquakes.

At least 70 people have died and dozens others remain missing on Sunday after torrential rains triggered massive flooding and landslides in western Japan.

A couple was found dead in a farmhouse buried in a mudslide in Kagoshima prefecture Monday, while earlier a woman who was reported as missing after getting trapped in her vehicle was found dead, Kyodo news service reported.

Japanese soldiers rescued people by boat in Hiroshima, while others were rescued from rooftops by helicopters.

Some homes were destroyed, while others were tilting precariously. Almost 50,000 members of the military, police and firefighting services were taking part in searches for people trapped, wounded or dead as a result of the floods, reported the Japan Times.