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At least 76 killed in Japan floods

08 July 2018

According to the JMA, an active seasonal rain front is causing torrential rain in most eastern and western regions of Japan, which could continue until Sunday.

Record-breaking rain: Japan's Meteorological Agency said that three hours of rainfall in one area of Kochi prefecture had reached 26.3 centimeters (10.4 inches), so far the highest rain accumulation since 1976, when the organization began measuring rainfall.

The rain triggered massive landslides and heavy flooding, with many houses becoming damaged and submerged up to their rooftops.

Authorities warned that landslides could strike even after rain subsides as the calamity shaped up to be potentially the worst in decades.

But that figure was expected to rise further, with public broadcaster NHK saying the toll was at 49.

"We are carrying out rescue operations around the clock", said Yoshihide Fujitani, a disaster management official in Hiroshima Prefecture. Water and electricity supply was also disrupted across large areas, as some 276,000 households suffered outages across 11 prefectures.

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Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told his cabinet on Saturday to take "every measure to prevent the disaster from worsening by taking advance actions".

Residents rescue dogs from flooded area in Kurashiki, Okayama prefecture on July 8, 2018.

At least two people have been killed, one when he was sucked down a drainage pipe, and another, an elderly woman, who was toppled by a gust of wind, news agencies reported.

"We've never experienced this kind of rain before", an official at the Japanese Meteorological Agency told a news conference.

Record downpours have hit Hiroshima, Okayama and Kyoto since Thursday, prompting evacuation orders for 1.6 million people.

The western Hiroshima prefecture was hit the hardest by landslides, which claimed 37 lives, while 21 people died in Ehime, NHK reported.

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Japan's government set up an emergency management centre 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 western and southwestern Japan.

Kochi Prefecture, on Shikoku, issued landslide warnings nearly over the entire island.

A woman who was reported as missing after getting trapped in her vehicle was found but was pronounced dead, Kyodo news service reported.

A 52-year-old woman in Kyoto was found dead by a river on Friday, while in neighbouring Hyogo prefecture a construction worker was swept away by flood waters and died.

The death toll from heavy rains have devastated central and western Japan.

The disaster is the deadliest rain-related crisis in the country since 2014, when at least 74 people were killed in landslides caused by torrential downpours in the Hiroshima region.

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At least 76 killed in Japan floods