Published: Fri, July 13, 2018
Global News | By Blake Casey

Japan Struggles to Deliver Relief to Victims as Flood Toll Rises

Japan Struggles to Deliver Relief to Victims as Flood Toll Rises

About 1,000 rescuers looked for people cut off in their homes and searched in flooded areas of the city of Kurashiki, Okayama Prefecture.

"We want to demonstrate what we have been training for as a center for summarizing and resolving problems such as food poisoning at evacuation centers, and secondary harm accompanying prolonged evacuation", said Yoko So, a doctor who leads the team of experts in public health.

As of Thursday morning, most of the railway companies had said they would be unable to resume service within the next few days.

Many aid supplies and volunteers began arriving in affected areas, although a local official in Kurashiki, Okayama Prefecture, said there are "not enough people or vehicles" to distribute the abundant supplies.

Japan's Meteorological Agency cautioned that landslides and flooding would continue to pose a risk to residents, even as rains abated on Monday.

TOKYO-More than 7,000 people were still in evacuation shelters and many more were struggling with basic needs Thursday after severe flooding and landslides last week in western Japan that caused at least 200 deaths.

Work under the scorching sun was hampered by mud and heat, and shipments of relief goods were delayed by damaged roads and transportation systems, especially in areas isolated by the disaster. "Rivers overflowed, turning towns into lakes, leaving dozens of people stranded on rooftops".

"We don't know how long it will take for the recovery", said Okayama official Imawaka.

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"We are cut off from the road and we can't go anywhere by auto", Hyuga told AP news agency.

More than 50 others are believed to be missing, the Japan Times reported.

"All I have is what I'm wearing", a rescued woman clutching a toy poodle told NHK. Receding waters in some districts are giving people a headstart to clear away damage but the lack of water supply is hindering cleaning efforts.

Japan's government set up an emergency management center at the prime minister's office and some 54,000 rescuers from the military, police and fire departments were dispatched across a wide swath of southwestern and western Japan.

"There have been requests for setting up air-conditioners due to rising temperatures above 30 degrees today, and at the same time we need to restore lifelines", Finance Minister Taro Aso told reporters after a cabinet meeting.

Further rain warnings are in effect, with more than 250mm (10 in) predicted to fall in some areas by Monday.

Raging floods in Japan have killed over 100 people and sparked mass-evacuation orders for several million residents of the island nation. The front then remained in one place for an unusually long time, the JMA said. They were to decide later on Sunday on plans for the coming week.

In Okayama prefecture, rescue workers flew in helicopters over areas that are still under flood water and otherwise unreachable, looking for signs of life.

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