Rescue workers look for missing people in a house damaged by heavy rain, in Kumano in Japan’s Hiroshima prefecture, on July 9 2018. Picture: KYODO VIA REUTERS
Rescue workers look for missing people in a house damaged by heavy rain, in Kumano in Japan’s Hiroshima prefecture, on July 9 2018. Picture: KYODO VIA REUTERS

Kurashiki, Japan — Rescuers in Japan dug through mud and rubble on Monday, racing to find survivors after torrential rain unleashed floods and landslides that killed at least 114 people, with dozens missing.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe cancelled an overseas trip in order to deal with Japan’s worst flood disaster since 1983, with several million people forced from their homes.

Officials said the overall economic effect was not clear.

Rain tapered off across the western region on Monday to reveal blue skies and a scorching sun that pushed temperatures well above 30ºC, fuelling fears of heatstroke in areas cut off from power or water.

“We cannot take baths, the toilet doesn’t work and our food stockpile is running low,” said Yumeko Matsui, whose home in the city of Mihara, in Hiroshima prefecture, has been without water since Saturday.

“Bottled water and bottled tea are all gone from convenience stores and other shops,” said the 23-year-old nursery school worker, who was at an emergency water supply station.

Some 11,200 households had no electricity, power companies said on Monday, while hundreds of thousands had no water.

The death toll reached at least 114, NHK public television said, with 61 people missing.

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.

Chief cabinet secretary Yoshihide Suga said Abe had cancelled his trip to Belgium, France, Saudi Arabia and Egypt because of the disaster.

Car makers

Industry operations have also been hit, with Mazda saying it was forced to close its head office in Hiroshima on Monday.

The car maker, which suspended operations at several plants last week, said the halt would continue at two plants until Tuesday because it could not receive components, although both of the units had been undamaged.

Daihatsu, which suspended production on Friday at up to four plants, said they would run the second evening shift on Monday. Electronics maker Panasonic said operations at one plant remained suspended.

Refineries and oil terminals were not affected but blockages in roads leading to one Showa Shell oil terminal in Hiroshima caused gas and diesel shortages nearby.

Reuters

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