Tokyo, July 9 (IANS) The death toll from the devastating floods after record rains pounded Japan has increased to 85, with two million others forced to evacuate from their homes, authorities said on Monday.
At least 58 people have been reported missing and six were in critical condition, reports CNN.
“The record rainfalls in various parts of the country have caused rivers to burst their banks, and triggered large scale floods and landslides in several areas,” Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said on Sunday.
Hundreds of homes have been destroyed or damaged. In all, eight prefectures have been affected, including Kyoto and Hiroshima.
The Japan Meteorological Agency (JMA) has upgraded its alert system to the highest level in large areas of western Japan, while lifting the warning in other regions.
Japanese public broadcaster NHK reported about 364 mm of rain fell in some two hours over the weekend in the city of Uwajima — approximately 1.5 times the average monthly rainfall for July.
Sukumo city in Kochi prefecture received 263 mm of rain in almost the same period of time.
Transportation services have been severely disrupted since the rains began on July 5, with Shinkansen bullet train services partially suspended in most parts of western Japan and major arterial highways partially closed.
Manufacturing was also hit hard by the heavy downpour and flooding, as major carmakers such as Mazda Motor Corp and Mitsubishi Motors Corp and manufacturer such as Panasonic Corp suspending operations at some plants in western Japan.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said 54,000 personnel had been mobilized for search-and-rescue efforts.