Further complicating repair efforts is the fact that many railroads and freeways are closed, too inundated to operate, placing many affected areas out of reach .
Rains began late last week and intensified over the weekend. Rivers overflowed, landslides crushed builds, and autoes were swept away by floodwater .
“The record rainfalls in different parts of the country have caused rivers to burst their banks, and triggered large scale inundations and landslides in several areas, ” Cabinet Secretary Suga said Sunday .
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 swallowed entire streets .
In Kurashiki near Okayama, soldiers were used in order to carry elderly residents from their homes into waiting boats .
Kazuhiko Ono, who owns a secondhand volume store in Hiroshima city, was unable to return to his home and store when the rains first arrived. His wife and children took shelter in the second floor of their home, while the store filled up with water .
“I’m so sad I lost many volumes, ” Ono told. “I can never find them anymore.”
Hiroshima and Ehime prefectures were some of the hardest hit, though nine others were also heavily impacted .
Images from Kuyashiki, a city on the southern coast of Okayama Prefecture, indicate cars overturned or buried in mud .
Japanese public broadcaster NHK reported
about 364 millimeters( 14.3 inches) of rainfall fell between 5 a.m. and 7 a. m. Sunday in the city of Uwajima — approximately 1.5 periods the average monthly rainfall for July. In Sukumo City in Kochi prefecture, 263 millimeters( 10.3 inches) of rain has declined in two hours, NHK told .
Suga warned that although the rainfall warns had been lifted, residents should still watch for landslides. Those participating in cleanup efforts should be careful with heat strokes, as the next few days are expected to be hot and clear .
Prime Minister Abe announced on Monday that he has canceled a planned journey to Belgium, France, Saudi Arabia and Egypt to concentrate on the disaster relief endeavor .
Around 73,000 personnel have been mobilized for search-and-rescue efforts .
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