More than 100 dead as floods and landslides devastate south-west Japan | Artificial Intelligence

Rescuers prepare to start a search mission for missing person at the site of a landslide in Kumano town, Hiroshima prefecture

Rescuers prepare to start a search mission for missing person at the site of a landslide in Kumano town, Hiroshima prefecture

Sadayuki Goto/Kyodo News via AP

At least 100 people are dead or presumed dead after flooding and mudslides hit south-west Japan.

Rescuers were hard at work searching for the more than 60 residents who are still unaccounted for, most of them in the hardest-hit Hiroshima area.

The assessment of casualties has been difficult because of the widespread area affected by the rainfall, flooding and landslides since late last week.

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Authorities warned that landslides could strike even after rain subsides as the calamity shaped up to be potentially the worst in decades.

Some homes were smashed. Others were tilting precariously. Rivers overflowed, turning towns into lakes, leaving dozens of people stranded on rooftops. Military paddle boats and helicopters have taken people to safety.

A helicopter flies over a flooded housing area in Kurashiki, Okayama prefecture

A helicopter flies over a flooded housing area in Kurashiki, Okayama prefecture

Kyodo News via AP

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said on Monday that 87 people were confirmed dead and 13 others were without vital signs when they were found.

Prime Minsiter Shinzo Abe said the government has expended the search and rescue effort, dispatching 73,000 troops and emergency workers.

“The rescue teams are doing their utmost,” he said.

In large parts of Hiroshima, water streamed through a residential area, strewn with fallen telephone poles, uprooted trees and mud over the weekend.

The Japan Meteorological Agency said three hours of rainfall in one area in Kochi prefecture reached an accumulated 26.3cm, the highest since such records started in 1976.

Kochi prefecture, on Shikoku, issued landslide warnings over almost the entire island. The Japanese government set up an emergency taskforce over the weekend and has sent troops, firefighters, police and other disaster relief. People have also taken to social media to plead for help.

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