Japan Floods and Landslides Death Toll Rises to 85

Torrents of rain and landslides have forced 2 million people in southwest Japan to flee their homes, as widespread flooding and unstable hillsides have led to at least 85 people confirmed dead.

As of the latest count, 85 people have been killed and six are in critical condition, according to NHK World Japan. Authorities have confirmed that at least 58 people are still missing as of Sunday, July 8. With floods and landslides still affecting the southwest parts of the country, the death toll is still expected to rise.

"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 in a statement this weekend, as quoted by CNN.

While hundreds of homes and buildings were destroyed or invaded by flooding and mud all across the southwest and western prefectures in the country, Hiroshima was the hardest hit in terms of casualties.

Hiroshima recorded 37 people dead, with Ehime prefecture reporting that 21 residents were killed. Fatalities were also recorded in nearby areas including the Okayama, Hyogo, Kyoto, Shiga, Fukuoka, Kochi, Gifu, Yamaguchi and Saga prefectures.

An estimated 14.3 inches of rain have been recorded to have fallen in just two hours in the city of Uwajima. In a span of hours, record-breaking rainfall dumped 1.5 times the amount that would have normally be expected for the entire month of July.

Despite heavy rains forecasted for Sunday, rescue efforts were carried out throughout the weekend. "Rescue efforts are a battle with time," Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told reporters, as quoted by Fox News.

"The rescue teams are doing their utmost," he added. About 54,000 personnel had been assigned to search and rescue operations in the affected area, according to the Prime Minister.

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