A police officer looks into a car buried in mud during a search operation in the aftermath of heavy rains in Kure, Hiroshima prefecture, southwestern Japan, Wednesday, July 11, 2018. Rescuers were combing through mud-covered hillsides and along riverbanks Tuesday searching for dozens of people missing after heavy rains unleashed flooding and mudslides in southwestern Japan. (Shingo Nishizume/Kyodo News via AP)

Dozens still missing as death toll hits 176 in Japan floods

Dozens of people missing after heavy rains unleashed flooding and mudslides in southwestern Japan.

Residents shovelled mud and debris to clear streets so they could get out for food and other supplies Wednesday in areas of western Japan hard hit by landslides and flooding that still swamped some areas.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe visited an evacuation centre in the city of Kurashiki in Okayama prefecture, where more than 40 of the 176 victims died. He ducked in front of an elderly woman sitting on the floor, and pledged to her that his government will do its utmost to bring back her ordinary life as soon as possible. About 200 residents were taking refuge at the shelter he visited.

Tens of thousands of rescue and recovery workers and volunteers were searching for people still missing.

In areas where search-and-rescue operations had ended, construction workers and residents worked in neighbourhoods to clear mud and debris and restore vehicle access to the outside and get supplies and food.

In Hiroshima’s Asakita ward, resident Nobuaki Hyuga walked to a neighbourhood convenience store but could only find ice cream and juices, so he had to go further to find bread and other foods. “We are cut off from the road and we can’t go anywhere by car,” Hyuga said.

Related: Strong earthquake in Japan kills 3

Related: Five B.C. families stuck in Japan as Canada refuses visas for adopted babies

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

“Mud and dirt is still blocking our local bus route, so we are trying to get that out of the way, so the road can be reopened for buses and cars,” he said. “Once we get the mud out, I believe the rest of the work would pick up.”

The government said 176 people have been confirmed dead after the record-setting rainfall last week caused severe flooding and landslides. Most of the deaths were in Hiroshima and the surrounding area, but the damage was widespread.

The government has mobilized 75,000 troops and emergency workers and some 80 helicopters for the search and rescue effort, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said.

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. Supermarkets have closed stores or shortened hours due to delivery delays and supply shortages.

Thousands of homes were still without clean water and electricity. Residents lined up for water under a scorching sun as temperatures rose to 35 Celsius (95 Fahrenheit), raising the risk of heat stroke.

Suga said earlier the government was spending 2 billion yen ($18 million) to hasten deliveries of supplies and other support for evacuation centres and residents.

Abe cancelled a planned trip to Europe and the Middle East this week to oversee the emergency response.

___

Yamaguchi reported from Tokyo.

Haruka Nuga And Mari Yamaguchi, The Associated Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

Okanagan Wildfires: The latest on wildfires and evacuations

A Friday morning look at the major wildfires impact the Okanagan and Similkameen.

UPDATED: 1,500 residents on evacuation alert as Peachland under state of emergency

The Mount Eneas wildfire has forced an evacuation alert of 596 properties

VIDEO: Hunchback of Notre Dame: classic story relevant to today’s world

Nelson’s Capitol Theatre youth theatre production runs July 26, 27, and 28

LETTER: Fix West Kootenay potholes

From reader R. Johnson

Kootenay Pride Society launching zine

The publication will be available for September’s Pride weekend

VIDEO: How to throw a frisbee

Ultimate frisbee player Amy Mackay shows off the proper technique

BC toddler with ‘allergy’ to sun waiting for bone marrow transplant

Charlie Lock, 2, needs treatment for damage caused by rare disorder EPP

Site C dam project plagued by problems: expert

E. Harvey Elwin expresses concern about internal BC Hydro and government documents

Seal attacks kayakers off northern Vancouver Island

‘It has to be one chance in a million of this happening.’

Victoria-area park sign removed after glitch redirects to porn site

Resident looking to learn more about workout equipment discovered the problem code

Special Olympic athletes take on BC Games during special anniversary

Known as the Global Day of Inclusion, July 20 marks the first Special Olympics in 1968 in Chicago

Scammers dressed as Mounties threaten to arrest senior if she doesn’t cough up cash

Pair of fraudulent officers threaten to arrest 90-year-old woman

Fundraiser to help mom of jogger detained after crossing U.S. border

Cedella Roman, 19, was held in U.S. after accidentally crossing border in South Surrey

Okanagan Wildfires: The latest on wildfires and evacuations

A Friday morning look at the major wildfires impact the Okanagan and Similkameen.

Most Read