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At least 37 people were killed and more than 50 are missing as record rains continue falling over parts of Japan. Nearly 50 000 members of the Self-Defense Forces, police and firefighting service are searching for trapped, wounded or dead people, Kyodo news service reported Saturday, July 7, 2018.

Torrential rain has caused heavy flooding and landslides in south-west Japan. Dozens of people have died and at least 50 are missing. Japan’s meteorological agency issued ‘historic and special weather warnings’ across four prefectures in the west of Japan’s main island of Honshu.

Dozens of people have died and at least 50 are missing after torrential rain triggered landslides and flash flooding in western Japan on Saturday.

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Catastrophic floods in Japan: 2 million people evacuated 50 dead

Local authorities said 20 people had been killed, while public broadcaster NHK said the death toll had risen to 46.

The number of casualties is expected to rise, said Yoshinobu Katsuura, a disaster management official in Ehime prefecture.

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Catastrophic floods in Japan: 2 million people evacuated 50 dead
The prime minister, Shinzō Abe, said the situation was “extremely serious” and ordered ministers to “make an all-out effort” to rescue victims.
The rainfall has hampered rescue operations in Hiroshima, Ehime, Okayama, Kyoto and other regions.
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Catastrophic floods in Japan: 2 million people evacuated 50 dead

Water levels reached five metres (16ft) in the worst-hit areas, forcing some residents on to rooftops and balconies to attract the attention of rescue helicopters.

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Catastrophic floods in Japan: 2 million people evacuated 50 dead

Almost 2 million people, mainly in western Japan, have been told to evacuate their homes, according to the fire and disaster management agency, but NHK said the figure had risen to nearly 3.2 million.

Some areas have been hit by more than one metre of rain, while almost 48,000 soldiers, police and firefighters have been deployed for rescue operations, said the chief cabinet secretary, Yoshihide Suga. Another 21,000 troops are on standby.

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Catastrophic floods in Japan: 2 million people evacuated 50 dead

The Japan Meteorological Agency upgraded its alert system to the highest level – only issued when the amount of rain is expected to be the highest in decades – in large areas of western Japan, while lifting the warning in other regions.

Among the missing were five people buried when houses collapsed in Hiroshima prefecture. In Ehime prefecture, a woman was found dead on the second floor of a home hit by a landslide, Kyodo said.

Yamaguchi prefecture, another area hit by the heavy rain, alerted people to heed evacuation warnings and act quickly.

Kyoto prefecture said it was working to control flooding at several dams. About 250 people had to flee their homes and the prefecture identified one fatality as a 52-year-old woman.

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Catastrophic floods in Japan: 2 million people evacuated 50 dead

Roads were blocked in some areas and warnings were issued on landslides. Military water trucks were rushing to areas where water systems were no longer working, Okayama prefecture said.

Although Japan is among the most modernised of Asian nations, rural areas are hit hard by the rainy season each year, often resulting in casualties and heavy damage.

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Catastrophic floods in Japan: 2 million people evacuated 50 dead
Catastrophic floods in Japan, Catastrophic floods in Japan july 2018, Catastrophic floods in Japan video, Catastrophic floods in Japan pictures, Catastrophic floods in Japan july 7 2018 video and pictures
Catastrophic floods in Japan: 2 million people evacuated 50 dead
Catastrophic floods in Japan, Catastrophic floods in Japan july 2018, Catastrophic floods in Japan video, Catastrophic floods in Japan pictures, Catastrophic floods in Japan july 7 2018 video and pictures
Catastrophic floods in Japan: 2 million people evacuated 50 dead

Today, again, the same Island of Honshu was struck by a M6.1 earthquake, downgraded to M5.9.

strong earthquake honshu japan july 7 2018, Strong M6.1 earthquake, downgraded to M5.9 by USGS, hit Honshu Island in Japan on July 7 2018
Strong M6.1 earthquake, downgraded to M5.9 by USGS, hit Honshu Island in Japan on July 7, 2018. via USGS
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