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11 July 2018, 02:24 | Devin Moran
Flooding and landslides have killed at least 50 people and left dozens missing in western areas of Japan
Rescuers were still digging through mud and rubble racing to find survivors on Monday after torrential rain unleashed floods and landslides across a wide swathe of western Japan, forcing several million people from their homes.
Abe, who canceled an overseas trip to deal with the disaster, was criticized after a photograph posted on Twitter showed Abe and his defense minister at a party with lawmakers just as the rains intensified.
The rain has stopped in the disaster-hit region but the situation remains perilous in many areas.
Flooding again hit Hiroshima Prefecture around 10. a.m. on July 10, when dirt and drifting trees blocked the Enokigawa river under a bridge in Fuchu, causing the water to overflow.
"We can not take baths, the toilet doesn't work and our food stockpile is running low", the 23-year-old school worker said. Water and other relief supplies were scarce in some areas.
At least 75 people are dead and 40 have been reported missing or are unaccounted for, according to Japan's Fire and Disaster Management Agency. Another nine are missing.
"He always used to come to our house to play games and things", a teenaged neighbor told NHK.
Water rose 16ft in the worst-hit areas where cars were floating. Officials in Ehime prefecture asked the central government to review a weather warning system, noting that rain warnings were issued after damage and casualties were occurring.
The automaker, which suspended operations at several plants last week, said the halt would continue at two plants until Tuesday because it can not receive components, although both units were undamaged. Shinkansen bullet train services resumed on a limited schedule after they were suspended on Friday. Two hours away, in Hiroshima, residents watched their houses wash away amid the downpour.
People soldiered on with the grim recovery task.
One of those lining up was Yumeko Matsui, whose home in Hiroshima had been without water since Saturday.
Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe meets local residents staying at an evacuation center in Kurashiki, Okayama Prefecture, Japan, in this photo taken by Kyodo July 11, 2018.
Three weeks later, she is one of at least 158 people who died after the historic deluge in western Japan last week.
Water still covered much of the hard-hit city of Kurashiki, despite ebbing floods that opened the route to a hospital where almost 100 patients and staff were stranded on Sunday. "We need shirts, trousers, underwear, socks and even shoes", its mayor, Kaori Ito, told the Asahi Shimbun newspaper.
Thousands of homes were without clean water and electricity in Hiroshima and other hard-hit areas, where many people lined up for water tanks under the scorching sun, with temperature rising as high as 34C, which prompted concerns about people's health.
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