Death Toll From Floods in Japan Climbs To 176

Landslide warnings have been issued in over a quarter of the nation's prefectures

Japan Self-Defense Force soldiers rescue people from a flooded area in Mabi town in Kurashiki, Okayama Prefecture, Japan, July 8, 2018.

In the city of Kurashiki in Okayama Prefecture, Teruo Sasai, whose house, along with almost a dozen others in his neighborhood, was flooded out, and described the destruction "unbelievable". But even if he wants to go back with his wife and two pet birds, he can't - because there is no water, power or food available, he says.

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

More than 20,000 people were killed or went missing during the 2011 disaster, when a 9.0-magnitude quake hit Japan, triggering a tsunami and nuclear meltdown at the Fukushima nuclear plant. However, around 80 people remained at the hospital as of Sunday evening, according to the NHK public broadcaster.

Indeed, with the severity of the crisis impacting large swathes of areas in Western Japan and Southwestern Japan becoming understood, then more individuals are now involved in search and rescue.

The death toll from historic floods in Japan climbed to 176 as rescue workers struggled on Wednesday to search for dozens of people who are still missing. The bodies of three girls were found in the area of a collapsed embankment in the Fukuyama city part of Hiroshima.

A fresh evacuation order was issued Tuesday for residents in the town of Fuchu in Hiroshima Prefecture after the Enoki River running through the town overflowed earlier in the day after driftwood blocked its flow.

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Local government officials said pumping trucks were being deployed to help restore access to some of the worst-hit areas in the area, and with the rains stopped, water was starting to recede.

"Mean precipitation in Japan is expected to increase by more than 10 percent over the 21st century, especially during the warm seasons", wrote the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) in their Nippon Changes report. Officials in Ehime prefecture asked the central government to review a weather warning system, noting that rain warnings were issued after damage and casualties were already reported, a possible cause of the region's extensive damage.

Evacuation orders stayed in place for almost 2 million people and another 2.3 million were advised to evacuate, although rain had stopped and floodwaters receded in some areas.

About 300 people spent the night at the Okada Elementary School in Okayama prefecture, with many of them sleeping on blue mats in the school's gym.

Police use sticks during a search operation at a mud-covered area in the aftermath of heavy rains in Kure, Hiroshima prefecture, southwestern Japan, Wednesday, July 11, 2018. The front then remained in one place for an unusually long time, the JMA said.

Several major manufacturers, including carmakers Daihatsu and Mitsubishi, suspended operations at plants in the affected areas. They were to decide later on Sunday on plans for the coming week.

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