Japan struggles to deliver food relief after historic rains

Japan struggles to deliver food relief after historic rains

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe canceled an overseas trip because of the disaster, a ruling party source said.

"People believe Okayama is very safe, nobody thought that [a disaster] would happen to this city", Yusuke Fujii, who lives in Osaka but travelled to Okayama to visit his grandmother, told the BBC.

"I can't reach her phone", he told AFP, sitting across from a house that had been ripped apart and tossed on its side by a huge landslide.

Rescue efforts are beginning to wind down, almost a week after the rains began, and hopes that new survivors could be found have faded.

Japan was hit with heavy rainfall this weekend, forcing over two million people to leave their homes and leaving a rising death toll in its wake. However, around 80 people remained at the hospital as of Sunday evening, according to the NHK public broadcaster.

Some 75,000 responders have been deployed to the area for search and rescue operations.

In Takehara, mudslides on Saturday crushed homes.

But they were moving carefully, looking as they went for survivors, or the remains of those killed in the disaster.

A man walks past a devastated street during floods in Saka, Hiroshima prefecture on July 8, 2018.

The nose of a white vehicle was just visible underneath the entire top floor of one home that had been torn from the rest of a building and swept down a hillside.

Water was still flowing from the surrounding hillsides around the feet of shellshocked residents, some of whom wept as they saw their damaged district.

(Reuters/Issei Kato) A vehicle is submerged at a flooded area in Mabi.

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Japan, one of the most seismically-active places in the world, has stressed earthquake preparedness and regulations to make buildings quake-proof, but it has done less about potential flood disasters, said Okuma from Niigata University. The government is also focusing on restoring the roads and the water supply.

Rescuers on boats head for search in the partly submerged area in water after heavy rain in Kurashiki city, Japan.

"If the water level drops low enough, they may be able to access hard-hit areas by road or on foot".

Authorities have warned that landslides could strike even if the rainfall diminishes.

"We've never experienced this kind of rain before", a weather official said.

Almost 13,000 customers had no electricity, power companies said on Monday, while hundreds of thousands had no water.

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.

"The area became an ocean", 82-year-old resident Nobue Kakumoto told AFPon Sunday, surveying the scene.

In the town of Saka, Eiichi Tsuiki opted to stay in his home, and survived only by moving to the top floor as flood waters rose, washing cars away outside.

"I've lived here for 40 years".

At least 156 killed as door-to-door search for dozens of missing continues after the worst weather-related disaster in the country in over three decades.

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