Death toll in Ja­pan floods rises to 25

China Daily (Hong Kong) - - WORLD -

TOKYO — The death toll from tor­ren­tial rains and flood­ing that swept through Ja­pan’s south has reached 25, the govern­ment said on Tues­day, as res­cue teams bat­tled through thick mud to save more than 100 still stranded.

Fur­ther down­pours were pre­dicted to pound Kyushu af­ter swathes of the south­west­ern is­land were dev­as­tated last week by over­flow­ing rivers — sweep­ing away roads, houses and schools and forc­ing thou­sands of peo­ple into makeshift shel­ters.

But many re­main stranded, with emer­gency ser­vices strug­gling to reach them amid treach­er­ous con­di­tions.

About 150 peo­ple were still cut off as of Mon­day evening in hard­est-hit Fukuoka and Oita pre­fec­tures, ac­cord­ing to lo­cal govern­ment of­fi­cials.

Twenty-five peo­ple have died while at least 25 re­main un­ac­counted for, Chief Cabi­net Sec­re­tary Yoshi­hide Suga told re­porters on Tues­day.

Some 12,000 res­cuers were mak­ing “ut­most” ef­forts to find sur­vivors and clear washed up drift­wood ham­per­ing the search, Suga said.

Asakura city in the west- ern pre­fec­ture of Fukuoka, one of the hard­est-hit re­gions, has started ac­cept­ing ap­pli­ca­tions for disaster vic­tim fi­nan­cial aid, lo­cal author­i­ties said Tues­day.

Many houses were com­pletely washed away in the city as rivers breached their banks and oth­ers swamped by mud or lev­eled by land­slides fol­low­ing the record amount of rainfall that bat­tered the re­gion.

Those with dam­aged homes are el­i­gi­ble to claim fi­nan­cial aid once they have re­ceived a disaster vic­tim certificate, author­i­ties said.

Prime Min­is­ter Shinzo Abe can­celed a visit to Es­to­nia that was orig­i­nally planned as a last leg of his Euro­pean tour, which in­cluded the G20 Sum­mit in Ger­many, to come back to Tokyo on Tues­day af­ter­noon to deal with the disaster.

“We will move for­ward with clear­ing de­bris and restor­ing roads and other in­fra­struc­ture, de­vot­ing ev­ery ef­fort to se­cur­ing places for peo­ple to live and get­ting their lives back in or­der as soon as pos­si­ble,” Abe was quoted as telling a meet­ing of min­is­ters on Tues­day.

Abe will visit Fukuoka and Oita pre­fec­tures on Wed­nes­day to talk to staff at shel­ters and lo­cal govern­ment of­fi­cials, Suga said.

More than 500 mil­lime­ters of rain del­uged parts of Kyushu over just 12 hours last week, while rains have con­tin­ued in­ter­mit­tently since.

Ja­pan’s weather agency on Tues­day warned of con­tin­ued heavy rains in Kyushu.

ISSEI KATO / REUTERS

Lo­cal res­i­dents try to re­move muddy home elec­tri­cal ap­pli­ances from a dam­aged house in Asakura, Fukuoka, on Sun­day.

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