Flooding and landslides in Japan leave at least 85 dead

Flooding and landslides in Japan leave at least 85 dead

Flooding and landslides in Japan leave at least 85 dead

Authorities on Tuesday were also struggling to restore utilities to the flood-stricken areas. People are also reluctant to use what water they do have to wash their hands, raising fears of epidemics.

As many main roads in the disaster-hit areas have been blocked due to floods and landslides, Abe said in a separate gathering involving ministers that trucks to and from convenience stores and other retailers will operate as emergency vehicles for smoother transport of food and other goods.

Dozens of people are still missing and the toll from the worst weather-related disaster in Japan in over three decades is expected to rise further. But the government is fending off criticism that it showed a lack of urgency to initial disaster reports after photos on Twitter surfaced on Monday revealing senior cabinet members drinking together on Thursday night, at a time when downpours intensified, displacing tens of thousands of people.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said more than 50 people were still unaccounted for as of Tuesday afternoon, a lot of them in the hardest-hit Hiroshima area.

The disastrously heavy rainfall caused damage over a widespread area, with most of the deaths in and around Hiroshima.

NHK said people who have died include a man who fell from a bridge into a river in western Hiroshima city, and a 77-year-old man in Takashima, 35 miles east of Kyoto, who was swept into a canal as he tried to remove debris.

In Okayama Prefecture, more than 50 were killed in the Mabi district of flood-ravaged Kurashiki city.

"People in Japan normally attach great importance to the prevention of natural disasters, but sometimes fail to pay enough attention to heavy rainfalls", Masatani said.

A number of meteorological, natural and social factors combined to make the ideal storm, which since last Thursday has killed at least 176 people and forced hundreds of thousands to flee from their homes in western Japan, experts said Wednesday.

The Fire and Disaster Management Agency said that 122 people have been confirmed dead as of early Tuesday.

Even some of those whose homes were not destroyed were struggling with water and electricity shortages. Military paddle boats were also being used to take people to dry land. Despite orders and advisories to evacuate, which may have been issued too late, some residents appear to have ignored the warnings because they did not know where to go or how to get to safety.

Hillsides gave way under the weight of water, with deadly landslides crushing wooden houses and erasing roads.

Related news