At least 88 people have been reported dead and 58 missing following days of heavy rainfall that set off flooding and landslides in southwestern Japan.
Some residents in Hiroshima said they were caught unawares as the region was not used to torrents of rainfall, which began Friday and worsened through the weekend. Rivers overflowed, turning towns into lakes, leaving dozens of people stranded on rooftops.
Water streamed through a residential area, strewn with fallen telephone poles, uprooted trees and mud. Some homes were smashed. Others were tilting precariously.
BBC News reports that two million people have been ordered to evacuate with Prime Minister Shinzo Abe saying rescuers were “working against time.”
The Japanese government said Sunday that 92 people were still unaccounted for. More than 100 reports of casualties had been received, such as cars being swept away, and some 40 helicopters were out on rescue missions, it said.
“Rescue efforts are a battle with time,” Abe told reporters. “The rescue teams are doing their utmost.”
The Japan Meteorological Agency said three hours of rainfall in one area in Kochi prefecture reached an accumulated 26.3 centimeters, the highest since such records started in 1976.