Ja­pan Abe vis­its flood-hit area

Kuwait Times - - INTERNATIONAL -

Japanese Prime Min­is­ter Shinzo Abe yes­ter­day vis­ited south­ern re­gions dev­as­tated by tor­ren­tial rains and flood­ing that killed two dozen peo­ple as the toll was likely to rise. Heavy sea­sonal rains last week caused se­vere flood­ing that tore up roads and de­stroyed houses on Ja­pan’s south­ern­most is­land of Kyushu, with hun­dreds of thou­sands of peo­ple forced to flee their homes. At least 25 peo­ple have been con­firmed dead while more than 20 were still miss­ing yes­ter­day.

A week after the dis­as­ter be­gan, hun­dreds of peo­ple were still stay­ing in school gym­na­si­ums and pub­lic build­ings used as makeshift shel­ters. More than 10,000 res­cuers, in­clud­ing sol­diers, bat­tled through thick mud with lit­tle hope of find­ing sur­vivors. Pub­lic broad­caster NHK showed footage of res­cuers shov­el­ing mud and re­mov­ing washed up drift­wood from what seemed to be roads and farm fields. Abe, who can­celled a visit to Es­to­nia that was orig­i­nally planned as the last leg of a Euro­pean tour, flew to the re­gion to view the dam­age and con­sole res­i­dents.

He was shown on tele­vi­sion walk­ing along a river bank near a bro­ken bridge and vis­it­ing a shel­ter in Oita pre­fec­ture. Clad in blue work cloth­ing, Abe told evac­uees in a shel­ter that the gov­ern­ment was work­ing to re­store the re­gion. Abe later met with Oita pre­fec­ture gov­er­nor Kat­su­sada Hirose, Ky­odo News re­ported. “I was once again re­minded of the se­vere level of dam­age after see­ing with my own eyes the sites hit by tor­ren­tial rain and mud­slides,” Abe told Hirose, pledg­ing that the cen­tral gov­ern­ment will work “to im­prove con­di­tions at evac­u­a­tion cen­ters and se­cure hous­ing”.—AFP

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