Death toll in Japanese flooding climbs to over 100

Japan flooding: Dozens dead as torrential rain triggers landslides

Japan flooding: Dozens dead as torrential rain triggers landslides

The rains are the deadliest weather disaster in Japan since two typhoons that hit back-to-back in August and September 2011, killing almost 100 people.

The deluge began Thursday, as torrential rains pounded major parts of the country, including the cities of Hiroshima and Kyoto.

Warnings about historic disasters are issued in anticipation of the sort of extreme conditions that occur just once or twice in 50 years, Kyodo News reported. Within a 72-hour period, 93 locations reported record rainfall, John Matthews reported for NPR in Tokyo.

Japanese media reports said 88 people died and 58 people are missing.

"Rescues, saving lives and evacuations are a race against time", Abe said as he met with a government crisis cell set up to respond to the disaster.

Two million people have been ordered to evacuate as rivers burst their banks.

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". Military paddle boats were also being used to take people to land.

Government spokesman Yoshihide Suga said 73,000 police, firemen and troops were taking part in the rescue effort, with 700 helicopters deployed to help.

Hundreds of homes have been destroyed or damaged. "I have a granddaughter the same age".

Another 23 people were killed in Ehime, according to latest official figures. The younger, a first-grader, was a star and the hope of the depopulated island, the principal told NHK.

At a hospital in Mabi town, about 300 patients were temporarily trapped inside, but all had been safely airlifted by emergency rescue workers by early Monday. The company is based in Osaka and many of its stores are in western Japan. Shinkansen bullet train services resumed on a limited schedule after they were suspended on Friday.

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

Itsunori Onodera, Japan's defense minister, told reporters that the weather should take a turn for the better, but added that many problems remained. Supplies such as water, blankets and cellphone chargers were provided.

Kochi prefecture, which is on Shikoku, issued landslide warnings nearly over the entire island, the Associated Press reported. In Seki, Gifu Prefecture, a man's vehicle was overturned in a canal. A nine-year-old boy was among the dead and 78 people were missing, NHK said.

Landslide warnings were issued in more than a quarter of Japan's prefectures.

The floodwaters slowly receded in Kurashiki city's Mabi district, one of the hardest hit areas, leaving a thick coat of brown mud, as residents returned from evacuation centres and hotels to tackle the mess. More than 1,000 people were left temporarily on building roofs while waiting to be rescued. "We were hoping to find two people but still can't find one".

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