Rains, landslides claim over 100 lives in Japan

Over 100 people have died and dozens are missing or unable to be contacted following rain-triggered landslides, floods and other related accidents in Western Japan on Sunday (July 8) evening, local reports say.

The death toll may go up as landslides in many prefecture were not immediately confirmed by the authorities.

Several homes have been destroyed and thousands of people were displaced in the worst rain-related crisis to hit Japan since 2014.

Some 8.63 million people in 23 prefectures from Kyushu to Hokuriku have been told to evacuate.

As many as 54,000 police officers, firefighters and Self-Defence Forces members have been mobilised to assist in the rescue efforts, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said after a meeting at Prime Minister Shinzō Abe’s office.

Abe cancelled a planned trip to Europe and the Middle East to focus on rescue operations. He will be visiting some of the prefectures affected by floods and landslides.

Floods marooned an unspecified number of people in various prefectures.

In Okayama, hundreds of people remained atop buildings submerged by floods after three dikes on Oda River burst, Japanese Times reported. Those stranded are being ferried or airlifted to safety.

In Mabicho district, some 4,600 homes lay submerged. All patients and staff stranded in a hospital in the district were rescued on Monday.

Pumper trucks are working round the clock to drain off water from flooded areas but the process may take at least two weeks.

In 2014, more than 70 people were killed in landslides caused by torrential downpours in Hiroshima Prefecture.