DEATHS in Western Japan reached at least 88 on Sunday after record rainfall pounded the country last week.
Some 5.9 million people have been warned to evacuate across 19 prefectures, with authorities stating 30,000 were staying at evacuation centres as of Sunday afternoon, reported Japanese news agency Kyodo.
As floods and landslides hinder rescue operations, more than 50 others are missing. Many people are believed to be stranded in their homes, with casualties expected to continue rising in affected areas, reported the Japan Times.
“We cannot take baths, the toilet doesn’t work and our food stockpile is running low,” said Yumeko Matsui, whose home in the city of Mihara has been without water since Saturday.
“Bottled water and bottled tea are all gone from convenience stores and other shops,” the 23-year-old nursery school worker said at an emergency water supply station.
Rain tapered off across the region battered by last week’s downpour, revealing blue skies and scorching sun forecast to push temperatures above 30 degrees Celsius, fuelling fears of heatstroke in areas cut off from power or water.
But Japan’s meteorological agency has issued emergency warnings for several prefectures of heavy rains to continue. Some 1000 people were trapped on the roofs of buildings submerged by floods in Okayama Prefecture, the Times reported.
According to Japanese public broadcaster NHK, two elderly people are in critical condition after a landslide hit a public housing complex. Mud has inundated around 20 buildings in Hiroshima, said authorities.
Industry operations have also been hit, with Mazda Motor Corp saying it was forced to close its head office in Hiroshima on Monday.
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The automaker, which suspended operations at several plants last week, said the halt would continue at two plants until Tuesday, as it cannot receive components, although both units were undamaged.
Daihatsu, which suspended production on Friday at up to four plants, said they would run the second evening shift on Monday. Electronics maker Panasonic said operations at one plant remained suspended after the first floor was flooded.
Refineries and oil terminals were not affected, but blocked roads limited access to one Showa Shell oil terminal in the city, causing gas and diesel shortages nearby.
Additional reporting from Reuters.