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Japan struggles in the wake of worst flooding in decades

10 July 2018

Torrential rains unleashed floods and landslides in western Japan last week, killing at least 127 people and forcing several million from their homes.

This photo shows a submerged housing area in Kurashiki, Okayama Prefecture, western Japan.

Earlier today, the Self-Defense Force ferried seven oil trucks from Hiroshima to Kure, a major industrial city whose 226,000 residents were cut off from the rest of the prefecture due to the disaster.

"We hope that the disaster area will soon be rebuilt and its people will return to their normal life as soon as possible", it said.

In Kurashiki, 2,310 people have been rescued by authorities and the search still continues. Over 30,000 people have taken shelter at evacuation centres as of Sunday afternoon.

Even as the rains let up, authorities warned the downpours had loosened earth on hillsides and mountain slopes creating new risks.

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Roads were closed and train services suspended in parts of western Japan.

It's hard to imagine this happening to you, but photographs taken of the affected areas bring these tragic events a little closer to home.

At least 100 people have been killed, with many still unaccounted for.

Torrential rainfall in the southwestern islands of Japan has left more than 70 dead, according to local media, and dozens more missing, as floods strike for a third day.

People fled to rooftops and balconies in the city of Kurashiki, at the mouth of the Takahashi River, about 670 kilometers (415 miles) from Tokyo.

Rescue workers said it was still possible that survivors could be found, but acknowledged the odds were getting longer. HuffPost reports that evacuation orders or advisories were issued for 4.72 million people. All rain warnings have been lifted.

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Prime Minister Shinzo Abe called the situation "extremely serious" and ordered his government to "make an all-out effort" to rescue victims.

"The area became an ocean", 82-year-old resident Nobue Kakumoto told AFP Sunday, surveying the scene. "There are still many people whose safety has yet to be confirmed". "Some people have been isolated, calling for rescue". At the same time, it has been impossible to confirm the security and location of 78 others, " Suga told a news conference.

The rains have damaged key infrastructure such as highways and railways in the affected regions. Abe said earlier on Monday that the government had dispatched 73,000 troops and emergency workers for the search and rescue effort. "There are still many people missing and others in need of help", BBC quoted him as saying.

The Japan Meteorological Agency said as much as 10 centimeters of rain per hour fell on large parts of southwestern Japan.

Their foundations are also made of wood, which can be ideal for flexibility in the case of earthquakes, but stand little chance of withstanding the crushing pressure produced by a torrent of flood water or a massive landslide.

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Japan struggles in the wake of worst flooding in decades