The toll in flood-related incidents in Japan rose to 179, the government’s top spokesperson said on Wednesday. This is the highest toll caused by rainfall in Japan since 1982, according to BBC.
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At least 70 people are still missing even as search and rescue operations are under way. Over eight million people have been asked to evacuate their homes after torrential rains triggered landslides and floods in central and western regions. Meanwhile, typhoon Maria hit Japan’s southern Okinawa region, reported AFP.
While thousands of homes have been without power, there is no water supply in more than 2 lakh households, The Japan Times reported, quoting the Welfare Ministry.
The prefectures of Okayama, Hiroshima and Yamaguchi were the worst hit. “Food is in short supply,” a resident of Okayama told BBC. “We have to eat instant ramen because the supermarkets don’t have much food. We can’t get much information about flooded roads, evacuation centre and where to get food.”
Parts of western Japan have received three times the usual rainfall for the whole of July since Thursday. Kyoto, Gifu, Shiga, Hyogo, Kochi, Fukuoka and Kagoshima prefectures have also been affected by the downpour.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is currently in Okayama to assess the extent of the damage. He has cancelled an overseas trip after he faced criticism when photos posted on Twitter showed him at a party with lawmakers even as the crisis intensified. He is planning to also visit Hiroshima and Ehime prefectures next.