The size of the toll in what is now Japan’s worst weather-related disaster in over 3 decades has prompted questions about whether authorities were properly prepared and acted effectively. Heavy rain last week triggered widespread flooding and landslides in southwestern Japan.
According to the officials, almost 2 million people still face orders to keep away from homes, fire and disaster.
The death toll from historic floods in Japan climbed to 176.
Shizuo Yoshimoto, a doctor making the rounds at evacuation centres, said an urgent challenge was to bring necessary drugs to patients with diabetes and high blood pressure who were forced from their homes or whose clinics are closed.
Residents shoveled 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. Three people died at the scene in Ayabe City in Kyoto Prefecture, where two houses collapsed.
On July 8, deaths were confirmed in several prefectures.
Authorities opened up school halls and gymnasiums to those displaced by the rainfall. In Hiroshima prefecture, rescue workers found the body of a three-year-old girl whose home had been hit by a landslide.
Some of the thousands of residents who had been evacuated, some rescued from their rooftops, began cleaning up after the rain stopped Monday.
“We can accept losing things like home appliances, but memories”, she said, her voice trailing off.
Other stories of personal difficulty have also emerged. Rivers overflowed, landslides crushed buildings, and cars were swept away by floodwater.
Across nine other prefectures including Osaka, Yamaguchi and Tokushima, the ministry said that 1,100 homes remain with no water supply and the likelihood of it being restored is extremely minimal.
In Kurashiki, the receding floods have left a layer of silt on everything that was underwater.
The severe weather took many people in southwest Japan by surprise.
Sadly, her young colt, Earth, is missing and is not thought to have survived the floods.
In one of the most dramatic rescues, patients and staff – some still in their pyjamas – were helped from the balcony of a hospital in the city of Kurashiki on Sunday and rowed to safety on military paddle boats.
Japan’s meteorological agency has warned that fresh landslides may still occur, urging people to remain on guard.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at a disaster response meeting Thursday recalled seeing “horrendous” damage during his visit to Kurashiki where a river had broken its bank and flooded the city.
Abe viewed the damage from above in a helicopter, viewing what he called the “scars of the awful damage of heavy rain” and visited an evacuation center. He cancelled an overseas trip after he faced criticism when photos posted on Twitter showed him at a party with lawmakers even as the crisis intensified.