While the world fixates on the rescue of the Thai football boys from a flooded cave, Japan was in disaster management and recovery mode on Monday after catastrophic downpours killed more than 100 people.
In the city of Kurashiki, the flooding engulfed entire districts at one point, forcing some people to their rooftops to wait for rescue. Some people escaped the water by climbing onto the top of their homes while waiting to be rescued by helicopter.
"It's what we call a grid operation, where we are checking every single house to see if there are people still trapped inside them", an official with the local Okayama prefecture government told AFP.
"Mud and dirt is still blocking our local bus route, so we are trying to get that out of the way, so the road can be reopened for buses and cars", he told AP.
Hideto Yamanaka was leading a team of around 60 firefighters dispatched from outside the prefecture searching homes.
There was one brighter piece of news when it emerged that a miniature horse had survived three days stranded on a roof before being rescued by aid workers when flood waters receded.More news: Couple having affair die from carbon monoxide poisoning during sex
Policemen remove debris during search operations for missing people in a flooded area in Asakura.
The rain started to pour on Thursday and picked up Friday.
Stores were still closed, and inside one barber's shop the red sofas, customer chairs, and standing hair dryers were all covered with the same silt.
Also, in Mihara in the prefecture, a water intake facility was submerged.
Another resident, 82-year-old Saburo Yokoyama, said he was horrified when he saw floodwater flowing just outside his house. "I felt helpless", she said, retrieving a photo of her children playing baseball. "We raised our three small sons to adulthood here, there are so many memories", she said, her eyes welling with tears.
In the Mami-machi area of Kurashiki city, a well-known tourist area in Okayama Prefecture, the river embankment collapsed, causing about 30% of the area to flood. People prepared for risky search and cleanup efforts in southwestern Japan on Monday, where several days of heavy rainfall had set off flooding and landslides in a widespread area.More news: Best Scottish Twitter reactions to England’s exit from the World Cup
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who visited Okayama prefecture yesterday, offered flowers and silent prayers in Mabi, before visiting two evacuation centres. According to the Japan Times, the death toll has risen to 81 on Sunday, while dozens remain missing.
It's the worst weather-related disaster in the country since 2011, when almost 100 people were killed by two typhoons in August and September.
"It will be over 35 Celsius in some areas..."
"It's an undeniable fact that this sort of disaster due to torrential, unprecedented rain is becoming more frequent in recent years", Mr Suga said at a news conference in Tokyo.
The government said it would tap around $20 million in reserve funds to provide aid to those affected by the disaster. The town of Fukuyama in Hiroshima prefecture issued an evacuation order over fears that a small lake could burst its banks.More news: Serena Williams vs Julia Goerges, Wimbledon 2018 semi-final
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