Dhaka, 7 July, Abnews: Heavy rain continued to lash a wide area of western Japan on Saturday, leaving 27 dead and more than 50 missing in landslides and flooding that smashed homes and swept away cars.
Evacuation orders or advisories were issued for 4.72 million people at one point due to continued downpours. Around 48,000 members of the Self-Defense Forces, police and firefighting service were mobilized to search for trapped, wounded or dead people.
Ten people were confirmed dead in Hiroshima Prefecture, local authorities said, with the rest killed in Osaka, Shiga, Hyogo, Okayama and Ehime prefectures.
In Seiyo, Ehime Prefecture, five people were confirmed dead in connection with the torrential rain.
In Hiroshima, a woman in her 40s died in a landslide and a man found in a swollen river was confirmed dead, while another man died after he called a fire station to report that a mudslide had struck his home.
In Kasaoka, Okayama Prefecture, six workers were buried after a landslide crashed into their factory early Saturday morning, with one person confirmed dead.
Also in Okayama, a nursing home for elderly people was inundated and about 80 people were temporarily stranded on the second floor, while more than 10 people climbed onto the roofs of their homes as water surged in the prefecture.
In Matsuyama, Ehime Prefecture, a woman in her 30s and her two children were believed trapped after a mudslide hit their home.
The government had set up a liaison unit in the crisis management center of the prime minister's office to gather information, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told a press conference.
More than 100 rescue requests had been received, the top government spokesman added.
At a meeting with ministers, Prime Minister Shinzo Abe directed them to "prioritize lifesaving and send rescue crews without delay."
Emergency warnings issued from Friday to Saturday were in place in Okayama, Hyogo, Kyoto and Gifu prefectures but were lifted in Nagasaki, Saga, Fukuoka, Tottori and Hiroshima prefectures.
Since the downpour began Thursday, the Japan Meteorological Agency has forecast record amounts of rain through Sunday, warning of flooding, mudslides and lightning strikes.
In the 24-hour period through noon on Sunday, 250 millimeters of rain is forecast in the Tokai and southern Kyushu regions, 200 mm in the Shikoku and Hokuriku regions, and 150 mm in the Kinki and northern Kyushu regions. – Agencies