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Rescuers search for survivors after Japan floods kill at least 126
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Rescuers search for survivors after Japan floods kill at least 126

KURASHIKI, Japan, July 11 ------ Rescuers in western Japan dug through mud and rubble early on Tuesday, racing to find survivors after torrential rain that began last week unleashed floods and landslides that killed up to 130 people, with dozens missing. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe canceled an overseas trip to deal with Japan's worst flood disaster since 1982, with several million people forced from their homes. Officials said the overall economic impact was not clear. Rain tapered off across the western region on Monday to reveal blue skies and a scorching sun that pushed temperatures well above 30 degrees Celsius (86 degrees Fahrenheit), fueling fears of heatstroke in areas cut off from power or water.

"We cannot take baths, the toilet doesn't work and our food stockpile is running low," said Yumeko Matsui, whose home in the city of Mihara, in Hiroshima prefecture, has been without water since Saturday. "Bottled water and bottled tea are all gone from convenience stores and other shops," the 23-year-old nursery school worker said at an emergency water supply station. Some 11,200 households had no electricity, power companies said on Monday, while hundreds of thousands had no water. According to NHK public television, the death toll stood at 126 by Tuesday morning, with another six people in a state of cardiopulmonary arrest—a term Japanese authorities often use to describe those who have not been officially pronounced dead by a doctor. It said 63 were missing.

While persistent rain had ended, officials warned of sudden showers and thunderstorms as well as more landslides on steep mountainsides saturated over the weekend. Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said Abe had canceled his trip to Belgium, France, Saudi Arabia and Egypt because of the disaster. He had been due to leave on Wednesday. Industry operations have also been hit, with Mazda Motor Corp saying it was forced to close its head office in Hiroshima on Monday. The automaker, which suspended operations at several plants last week, said the halt would continue at two plants until Tuesday because it could not receive components, although both units were undamaged. Daihatsu, which suspended production on Friday at up to four plants, said it would run the second evening shift on Monday. Electronics maker Panasonic said operations at one plant remained suspended after the first floor was flooded.

Source: gmanetwork.com