200K with­out wa­ter

Ja­pan Ja­pan faces fre­quent dis­as­ters, toll hits 200

Arab Times - - INTERNATIONAL -

KURASHIKI, Ja­pan, July 12, (Agen­cies): Ja­pan risks more se­vere weather and must find ways to al­le­vi­ate dis­as­ters, a govern­ment spokesman said on Thurs­day, as in­tense heat and wa­ter short­ages raised fear of disease among sur­vivors of last week’s floods and land­slides.

Tor­ren­tial rain in western Ja­pan caused the coun­try’s worst weather dis­as­ter in 36 years, killing 200 peo­ple, many in com­mu­ni­ties that have ex­isted for decades on moun­tain slopes and flood plains largely un­trou­bled by storms.

But se­vere weather has been bat­ter­ing the coun­try more reg­u­larly in re­cent years, rais­ing ques­tions about the im­pact of global warm­ing. Dozens of peo­ple were killed in a sim­i­lar dis­as­ter last year.

“It’s an un­de­ni­able fact that this sort of dis­as­ter due to tor­ren­tial, un­prece­dented rain is be­com­ing more fre­quent in re­cent years,” Chief Cabi­net Sec­re­tary Yoshi­hide Suga told a news con­fer­ence in Tokyo.

Sav­ing lives was the govern­ment’s big­gest duty, he said.

“We recog­nise that there’s a need to look into steps we can take to re­duce the dam­age from dis­as­ters like this even a lit­tle bit,” he said.

He did not elab­o­rate on what steps the govern­ment could take.

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

With tem­per­a­tures rang­ing from 31 to 34 Cel­sius (86 to 93 Fahren­heit) and high hu­mid­ity, life in school gym­na­si­ums and other evac­u­a­tion cen­tres, where fam­i­lies spread out on mats on the floors, be­gan to take a toll.

Tele­vi­sion footage showed one elderly woman try­ing to sleep by kneel­ing across a fold­ing chair, arms over her eyes to keep out the light.

With few portable fans in evac­u­a­tion cen­tres, many sur­vivors waved pa­per fans to keep cool.

Tight wa­ter sup­plies meant that peo­ple were not get­ting enough flu­ids, au­thor­i­ties said.

“With­out wa­ter, we can’t re­ally clean any­thing up. We can’t wash any­thing,” one man told NHK tele­vi­sion.

The govern­ment has sent out wa­ter trucks but sup­plies re­main lim­ited.

In the hard-hit Mabi district of Kurashiki city in Okayama pre­fec­ture, piles of wa­ter-dam­aged re­frig­er­a­tors, wash­ing ma­chines and fur­ni­ture lined the streets as res­i­dents used hoses to wash mud out of their homes.

Un­able to join in the stren­u­ous work Hisako Takeuchi, 73, and her hus­band, spent the past five nights at an ele­men­tary school that had been turned into a make-shift evac­u­a­tion cen­tre.

“We only have each other and no rel­a­tives nearby. We aren’t able to move large things and we des­per­ately need vol­un­teer helpers,” said Takeuchi.

Prime Min­is­ter Shinzo Abe, on a visit to Kurashiki on Thurs­day, promised to pro­vide help as soon as pos­si­ble. He is set to visit two other hard­hit ar­eas on Fri­day and the week­end.

More than 70,000 mil­i­tary, po­lice and fire­fight­ers toiled through the de­bris in a search for bod­ies.

Home of nurse in poi­son death searched:

Ja­panese au­thor­i­ties on Thurs­day raided the apart­ment of a nurse who’s in cus­tody on sus­pi­cion of fa­tally poi­son­ing at least two elderly pa­tients at a ter­mi­nal care hos­pi­tal.

Lo­cal me­dia have re­ported the woman con­fessed to po­lice she poi­soned about 20 pa­tients to have them die when she was off-duty and could avoid the trou­ble of ex­plain­ing the deaths to their fam­i­lies.

Kana­gawa pre­fec­tural po­lice said they searched 31-year-old Ayumi Kuboki’s apart­ment in Yoko­hama, near Tokyo, for more ev­i­dence in the case.

Kuboki was ar­rested on Satur­day on sus­pi­cion of killing two men in 2016 by in­ject­ing dis­in­fec­tant into their in­tra­venous drips at the for­mer Oguchi Hos­pi­tal, since re­named Yoko­hama Ha­jime Hos­pi­tal, a Kana­gawa po­lice of­fi­cial said on con­di­tion of anonymity, cit­ing de­part­ment rules.

Pros­e­cu­tors have more than two weeks to de­cide whether to in­dict the for­mer nurse.

The hos­pi­tal has ac­knowl­edged a higher death rate around that time, rais­ing spec­u­la­tion the poi­son­ing may have been sys­tem­atic and more wide­spread. In 2016, a hos­pi­tal lawyer told The As­so­ci­ated Press that 46 other pa­tients had died on the same floor from July 1 un­til late Septem­ber that year. It was about a year af­ter Kuboki started work­ing at the hos­pi­tal.

Guru’s Ashes to be scat­tered at sea:

The cre­mated re­mains of the ex­e­cuted guru of the Ja­panese dooms­day cult be­hind a deadly 1995 sarin gas at­tack will be scat­tered at sea to avoid cre­at­ing a pil­grim­age site for his fol­low­ers, me­dia re­ported Wednes­day.

The lawyer rep­re­sent­ing the youngest daugh­ter of Shoko Asa­hara, the charis­matic leader of the Aum Shin­rikyo sect, an­nounced the plan a day af­ter she agreed to col­lect his ashes.

The plan comes amid re­ports of a bat­tle be­tween other mem­bers of Ashara’s fam­ily, in­clud­ing his wife, for his re­mains.

His wife and sev­eral other chil­dren re­main in an Aum suc­ces­sor cult.

Asa­hara’s youngest daugh­ter, whose name has not been made pub­lic, is the only one of his chil­dren to break with it.

“(Asa­hara’s) ashes bear grave im­por­tance to his fol­low­ers,” said lawyer Taro Taki­moto, ac­cord­ing to Kyodo News.

Taki­moto and the daugh­ter have agreed that it is best to scat­ter Asa­hara’s re­mains in the Pa­cific Ocean to avoid cre­at­ing any “holy land” for his fol­low­ers, he said.

The lawyer also urged the govern­ment to pro­tect the daugh­ter from pos­si­ble at­tacks from the guru’s fol­low­ers.

On Mon­day, Ja­panese au­thor­i­ties cre­mated 63-year-old Asa­hara, amid fears that his death could be used to re­boot the cult.


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