The death toll from devastating floods resulting from torrential rains that pounded Japan has increased to 122, with 27 others reported missing, authorities said on Tuesday.
Since they began on July 5, the rains have brought life to a standstill in the island nation with thousands of houses damaged, and those that have not been damaged have been impacted by the failure of infrastructure in the country. Nearly 17,000 households are still without power and phone lines are down across multiple prefectures.
Despite the rains coming to a stop, the country is still struggling to get back on its feet with multiple agencies and over 73,000 personnel from the Fire and Disaster Management Agency, Police and military being involved in search-and-rescue operations.
Hiroshima and Ehime prefectures were some of the hardest hit, though nine others were also heavily impacted due to flooding and landslides all over the country. The country has now lifted the emergency rain warnings, and rescue operations are now in full swing.
"We will unite and move swiftly to deliver those necessities to the disaster victims by coordinating closely with local government," said Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in a meeting with the disaster response task force, also noting "the future need" to improve evacuation centres and temporary housing.
Apart from the heavy damage, relief efforts were further complicated by the shutdown of the rail system and many national highways, making it hard for rescue teams to reach several affected areas.
The heavy rains also caused rivers to overflow, landslides crushed buildings and cars were swept away by floodwater. Two million people were forced to flee their homes, advised or ordered by the government to evacuate. Some, unable to leave, took shelter on their rooftops as flash floods inundated entire streets, reports CNN.