Torrential Rains Kill 141 In Japan, Say Government Sources

Japan floods leave at least 64 people dead and scores missing

The prefectures of Hiroshima, including the densely populated eponymous city, and Ehime have been hit the hardest, yet the disaster has also ravaged nine other areas.

Rescuers are now searching for dozens of people still missing since the rains hit Southwestern Japan.

Japan is being battered by rainfall three times more than is usual for the month of July.

Japanese media on Wednesday focused on the timing of evacuation orders issued in the hard-hit Mabi district of Kurashiki city just minutes before a levee broke and water poured into the residential area. Most of the deaths were in Hiroshima and the surrounding area.

Over 70,000 emergency workers have been deployed to dig through flood waters and the aftermath of landslides that have transformed the landscape in parts of central and western Japan.

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The maps of mandatory evacuation areas indicate that an estimated 2 million people have been displaced from their homes, though it remains unclear how many of these structures will still be standing when citizens are able to return.

While Monday's clearer weather allowed rescuers to target the more than 60 people still unaccounted for, food and water are in short supply in some of the more remote affected areas.

But experts also say Japan's warning system is problematic, with the decision to issue evacuation orders often left to local officials who may have no disaster management experience.

Here are some of the factors that have contributed to the worst rain-related disaster in Japan in over two decades.

To ensure smooth transportation of relief goods, the government also chose to treat trucks that usually deliver products to convenience stores and others as emergency vehicles. Residents lined up for water under a scorching sun as temperatures rose to 35 Celsius (95 Fahrenheit), raising the risk of heat stroke.

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A damaged auto is seen in floodwater on July 10, 2018 in Kurashiki, Japan.

A man gets home over a flooded river in Saka, Hiroshima prefecture on July 8, 2018.

On Tuesday, in the town of Fuchu, Hiroshima Prefecture, the Enokigawa river that runs through the town flooded as earth and sand stemmed the river's flow, and about 25,000 people were ordered to evacuate.

According to the West Nippon Expressway Company, at least seven expressway sections including those in Hiroshima and Okayama prefectures remain severely damaged with little chance of fix anytime soon. The government mobilised 75,000 troops and emergency workers and almost 80 helicopters for the search and rescue effort, Suga said.

During a meeting of the government's crisis response unit in Tokyo on Tuesday, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe pledged to swiftly provide emergency relief by dipping into reserve funds and bypassing requests from local governments.

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While persistent rain had ended, officials warned of sudden showers and thunderstorms as well as more landslides on steep mountainsides saturated over the weekend.

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