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Japan’s Abe visits flood-stricken Kyushu; death toll rises to 68

Japan’s Abe visits flood-stricken Kyushu; death toll rises to 68

DPA
Tokyo
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe travelled to the south-western prefecture of Kumamoto on Monday, where record-breaking rains sparked landslides and flooding, killing dozens of residents.
Abe paid tribute to 14 victims at a nursing home in Kuma village, the area that suffered extensive flood damage after heavy rain caused the Kuma river to overflow on July 4.
The area “flooded at an unimaginable speed, which resulted in a tragic event,” Abe said.
“We have to learn from the lesson here.”
Abe, who was wearing a face mask due to Covid-19 concerns, told Kumamoto Governor Ikuo Kabashima that the government would “put all its efforts” into the early recovery of state roads and the Kuma river.
The government plans to spend more than 400 billion yen on reconstruction work in the region, the premier told reporters later in the day.
“We will compile measures for the recovery as soon as possible,” he said.
The death toll from the downpours on the island of Kyushu climbed to 68, including 64 in Kumamoto, while troops and emergency workers continued to search for 12 others who remained missing.
Residents and volunteers have spent days cleaning up homes and offices, though occasional heavy rains suspended their work.
Since July 4, torrential rains caused a total of 316 landslides, including 56 in Kumamoto and 44 in Kagoshima prefecture, while 105 rivers overflowed, according to a government survey.
Nearly 14,000 houses were flooded or damaged on Kyushu and in western and central Japan, according to the Fire and Disaster Management Agency.
The Japan Meteorological Agency expected a seasonal rainy front to dump more rain on Kyushu and other parts of the country, warning of mudslides, flooding and swollen rivers.
The agency forecast rainfall of up to 250 millimetres for the Tokai region in central Japan and up to 200 millimetres for northern Kyushu and the south-western island of Shikoku by Tuesday evening.

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