Japan hunts for survivors of floods that killed nearly 100

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Tokyo, July 9: Rescuers in western Japan dug through mud and rubble on Monday, racing to find survivors after torrential rains unleashed floods and landslides that killed nearly 100, with dozens missing.
Rain tapered off across the region battered by last week’s downpour, revealing blue skies and scorching sun forecast to push temperatures above 30 degrees Celsius, fuelling fears of heatstroke in areas cut off from power or water.
“We cannot take baths, the toilet doesn’t work and our food stockpile is running low,” said Yumeko Matsui, whose home in the city of Mihara has been without water since Saturday.
“Bottled water and bottled tea are all gone from convenience stores and other shops,” the 23-year-old nursery school worker said at an emergency water supply station.
Nearly 13,000 customers had no electricity on Monday, power companies said, while hundreds of thousands had no water.
The death toll reached at least 97 after floodwaters forced several million from their homes, NHK national television said, the highest such figure since 98 people were killed in a typhoon in 2004. Among the dead was a nine-year-old boy.
“He always used to come to our house to play games and things,” a teenaged neighbour told NHK. “It’s very sad.”
Another 56 were missing, NHK added.
Though continuous rain had ended, officials warned against sudden showers and thunderstorms, as well as the risk of further landslides on steep mountainsides saturated over the weekend.
Industry operations have also been hit, with Mazda Motor Corp saying it was forced to close its head office in Hiroshima on Monday.
The automaker, which suspended operations at several plants last week, said the halt would continue at two plants until Tuesday, as it cannot receive components, although both units were undamaged.
Daihatsu, which suspended production on Friday at up to four plants, said they would run the second evening shift on Monday. (Agencies)