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

Vernon man seeks glory, beer, on frozen pond

Financial advisor Randy Wilson plays in one of world’s largest pond hockey tournaments

Vernon Mission bundles up for Coldest Night of the Year fundraiser

Coldest Night of the Year walk looks to give a unique perspective on sleeping rough

Regional district seeks $13 million to get rolling on Rail Trail

Federal grant would pay for a paved path from Sicamous to Armstrong

Vernon missionary helps feed Guatemalan children

Seeds to Harvest brings Gleaner’s food to those in need to relief efforts.

BC SPCA investigates Okanagan woman with prior animal abuse convictions

BC SPCA is investigating a property near Vernon

Sell regulated heroin to curb B.C.’s overdose problem: report

B.C. Centre on Substance Use points to organized crime and money-laundering as contributing factors

Galchenyuk scores in OT as Coyotes edge Canucks 3-2

Vancouver manages single point as NHL playoff chase continues

B.C. legislature moving suspended staff controversy to outside review

Whale watching, Seattle Mariners trips billed as emergency preparedness, Speaker Darryl Plecas says

More people signing up for compulsory vaccines

Maple Ridge mom says public tired of hearing about measles

Thieves steal bottles, mattress from recycle depot

Chase RCMP still investigating theft of tires, generator from commercial garage

UPDATE: Man charged in stabbing of woman, off-duty cop outside B.C. elementary school

Manoj George, 49, is facing two counts of aggravated assault and two counts of assault with a weapon after the incident on Wednesday, Feb. 20.

Why do zebras have stripes? Perhaps to dazzle away flies

Researchers from University of Bristol look into why zebras have stripes

Cold War Cabaret offers song, slam poetry and sock puppets

Devon More returns to Shuswap with Berlin Waltz, March 16

Poll: More voters believe Canada doing worse under Trudeau government

22 per cent believed the country is doing better and 27 per cent said things are the same

Most Read