155 confirmed dead as Japan searches for missing

155 confirmed dead as Japan searches for missing

Japan's government set up an emergency management centre at the prime minister's office and some 54‚000 rescuers from the military‚ police and fire departments were dispatched across a wide swath of south-western and western Japan.

Yoshihide Suga, Japanese government spokesman, said the whereabouts of 92 people were unknown, mostly in the southern area of Hiroshima prefecture. About 200 residents were taking refuge at the shelter he visited.

Some cities within Okayama prefecture saw flooding of almost 30 percent of the total area, while the number of partially or fully destroyed homes nationwide exceeds 10,000.

About 73,000 personnel have been mobilized for search-and-rescue efforts.

Photo taken on July 11, 2018, shows floodwater flowing by a village in Kure, Hiroshima, southwestern Japan.

On top of using reserve funds, the prime minister also said that one of the options for his government was that local allocation tax grants could be front-loaded.

"The water level is expected to go down, as we are clearing driftwood and other rubble, but that's far from a guarantee of safety", he told AFP by phone.

Construction worker Fukuyoshi Doi volunteering to get that done, and supervised other volunteers who gathered to help.

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Work under the scorching sun was hampered by mud and heat.

Most of the deaths have occurred in Hiroshima prefecture, which has been hit by torrential rain since Thursday.

Delivery companies Sagawa Express Co. and Yamato Transport Co. and cargo service Japan Freight Railway Co. said some of their shipments to and from the flooded areas have been suspended or reduced.

Also, potentially contributing to the high death toll is not just the number of landslides - the land ministry said there were landslides at 448 locations in 29 of Japan's 47 prefectures as a result of the torrential rain - but their contents.

Even some of those whose homes were not destroyed were struggling with water and electricity shortages. However, residents are being warned to stay vigilant against heat stroke as the temperature is set to reach 34 degrees Celsius on both Tuesday and Wednesday.

The town of Fukuyama in Hiroshima prefecture issued an evacuation order over fears that a small lake could burst its banks.

Abe's visit to Okayama, where around 50 people were killed in accidents caused by rains and floods, took place after the conservative leader cancelled his Europe and Middle East tours originally scheduled for this week.

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