57 dead as Japan scrambles to rescue flood victims

57 dead as Japan scrambles to rescue flood victims

57 dead as Japan scrambles to rescue flood victims

5 More than 100 people have been killed and dozens are missing after historic torrential rains unleashed floods in western Japan last week.

Authorities said high temperatures were forecast for Monday, posing new challenges for the many people stuck in modestly equipped shelters with few possessions or damaged homes with no water or electricity.

Up to 6.3 million people were ordered to leave their homes in 19 prefectures.

Local government officials said pumping trucks were being deployed to help restore access to some of the worst-hit areas in the area, and with the rains stopped, water was starting to recede.

Rescuers restarted their search through the mud for any survivors or the bodies of those killed on Monday morning.

In the message, Francis expressed his solidarity with all those affected, offered his encouragement to rescue crews and said he was praying for the dead and injured "and the consolation of all those who grieve".

"I went to my father's family home but it was hopeless", one man said.

Mr Abe said earlier that the government had dispatched 73,000 troops and emergency workers for the search and rescue effort.

Two sisters from an elementary school with just six students on the small island of Nuwa in Ehime prefecture also died, according to Reuters.

Record downpours have battered the southwest of the country since Thursday, causing a series of floods and landslides affecting Hiroshima and Okayama prefectures in particular.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe canceled his planned July 11-18 trip to Europe and the Middle East to oversee the emergency response.

The rains are the worst weather-related disaster in Japan since two typhoons in August and September 2011 killed almost 100 people.

The rains crippled transportation networks, with bus and train services partly or completely shut down in 15 prefectures.

Television footage showed a massive rescue operation, with some 1,850 people isolated in the city, according to public broadcaster NHK.

The Meteorological Agency is warning that that landslides and flooding continue to pose a danger and the number of casualties is expected to rise further.

Automakers including Mazda Motor Corp (7261.T) and Daihatsu Diesel Manufacturing Co (6023.T) suspended operations at several plants on Saturday due to a shortage of parts or unsafe conditions.

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