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Japan floods: At least 155 killed in worst weather disaster in 36 years

The Independent logo The Independent 7/10/2018 Samuel Osborne
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Watch: Rescuers search for survivors after horror floods in japan [Storyful] 

At least 155 people have been killed after torrential rain unleashed floods and landslides across western Japan in the country’s worst weather disaster for 36 years.

Rescuers were searching for around 67 people who remain missing, many of them in the hardest-hit Hiroshima area.

an aerial view of a city © Provided by Independent Digital News & Media Limited The country’s prime minister, Shinzo Abe, cancelled an overseas trip to oversee the emergency response to the disaster, which at one point forced several million people from their homes.

Cars sit on a damaged road covered with mud after a mudslide caused by heavy rains hit Hiroshima, southwestern Japan, Tuesday, July 10, 2018.  (AP Photo/Haruka Nuga) © ASSOCIATED PRESS Cars sit on a damaged road covered with mud after a mudslide caused by heavy rains hit Hiroshima, southwestern Japan, Tuesday, July 10, 2018. (AP Photo/Haruka Nuga) Mr Abe, who had been due to visit Belgium, France, Saudi Arabia and Egypt, faced criticism after he was pictured dining with the defence minister and other lawmakers last week, as the rains began to worsen.

A submerged car is seen in a flooded area in Mabi town in Kurashiki, Okayama Prefecture, Japan, July 10, 2018. REUTERS/Issei Kato © Thomson Reuters A submerged car is seen in a flooded area in Mabi town in Kurashiki, Okayama Prefecture, Japan, July 10, 2018. REUTERS/Issei Kato

Survivors face health risks from high temperatures and a lack of water.

Power has been restored to all but 3,500 homes, but more than 200,000 people remain without water under the scorching sun, with temperatures hitting 33C in some areas.

Rescuers remove the debris to clear an area hit by a mudslide caused by heavy rains in Hiroshima, southwestern Japan, Tuesday, July 10, 2018.  (AP Photo/Haruka Nuga) © ASSOCIATED PRESS Rescuers remove the debris to clear an area hit by a mudslide caused by heavy rains in Hiroshima, southwestern Japan, Tuesday, July 10, 2018. (AP Photo/Haruka Nuga) “There have been requests for setting up air-conditioners due to rising temperatures above 30 degrees today, and at the same time we need to restore lifelines,” Japan’s finance minister, Taro Aso, told reporters after a cabinet meeting.

Submerged and destroyed houses are seen in a flooded area in Mabi town in Kurashiki, Okayama Prefecture, Japan, July 10, 2018. REUTERS/Issei Kato © Thomson Reuters Submerged and destroyed houses are seen in a flooded area in Mabi town in Kurashiki, Okayama Prefecture, Japan, July 10, 2018. REUTERS/Issei Kato The transport of relief goods has been delayed by damaged roads and transport systems.

The government has set aside 70bn yen (£475m) in infrastructure funds with 350bn yen (£2.38bn) in reserve, Mr Aso said.

A local resident walks in a flood affected area in Mabi town in Kurashiki, Okayama Prefecture, Japan, July 10, 2018. REUTERS/Issei Kato     TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY © Thomson Reuters A local resident walks in a flood affected area in Mabi town in Kurashiki, Okayama Prefecture, Japan, July 10, 2018. REUTERS/Issei Kato TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY He went on to say an extra budget would be considered if needed: ”When necessary amounts firm up ... we would consider an extra budget later on if these funds prove insufficient.”

Although Japan issues weather warnings early, its dense population means almost every bit of usable land including some flood plains is built on in the mostly mountainous country, leaving it prone to disasters.

Evacuees take rest at Okada elementary school, which acts as an evacuation center in Mabi town in Kurashiki, Okayama Prefecture, Japan, July 10, 2018. REUTERS/Issei Kato © Thomson Reuters Evacuees take rest at Okada elementary school, which acts as an evacuation center in Mabi town in Kurashiki, Okayama Prefecture, Japan, July 10, 2018. REUTERS/Issei Kato A new evacuation order went out on Tuesday in a part of Hiroshima after a river blocked by debris overflowed its banks, affecting 23,000 people.

Another storm, Typhoon Maria, was bearing down on outlying islands in the Okinawa chain but it had weakened from a super-typhoon and was not expected to have any impact on Japan’s four main islands.

Additional reporting by agencies

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