Flooding in Japan has killed more than 100

Firefighters search for missing people in a house damaged by a landslide following torrential rain in Kitakyushu southwestern Japan

Firefighters search for missing people in a house damaged by a landslide following torrential rain in Kitakyushu southwestern Japan

Operations to discharge water are underway at an submerged housing area in Kurashiki, Okayama prefecture in Japan.

A helicopter flies over Mabi town which was flooded by the heavy rain in Kurashiki, Okayama Prefecture, Japan, in this photo taken by Kyodo July 9, 2018.

Rescuers are now searching for dozens of people still missing since the rains hit Southwestern Japan.

It's typhoon season in Japan, but this rainfall has been especially heavy - with as much as 10 centimetres falling every hour at its peak.

A quarter of flood-prone Mabi district of Kurashiki, sandwiched between two rivers, was inundated after a levee crumbled under the force of the torrent. Thousands of homes were without clean water and electricity in the city of Hiroshima and other hard-hit areas. Around 2,67,000 houses suffered water outages in 11 prefectures as of Sunday.

A total of 176 people have been killed since the downpour began late last week, Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said Wednesday.

As night fell, rescuers continued searches, "but we still don't know if we will carry out the operation around the clock", said Akiko Harada, a spokeswoman at the disaster management section of the city of Hiroshima, where 14 people were still unaccounted for.

"I'm afraid elderly people who were living alone may have failed to escape", said Yamanaka, 53.

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Dozens of people are still missing, and with the rains finally letting up on Monday, rescue workers were able to reach previously cut-off places where authorities fear more bodies may be trapped beneath debris. At one point during the flooding, evacuation orders were given for almost 6 million people across 19 prefectures.

In the town of Mihara, roads were transformed into muddy rivers, with dirt piled up on either side as flood water gushed around the wheels of stranded cars.

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe canceled a planned trip to Europe and the Middle East to oversee disaster activities.

Local government officials said pumping trucks were being deployed to help restore access to some of the worst-hit areas in the area, and with the rains stopped, water was starting to recede. Residents lined up for water under the scorching sun as temperatures rose to 35 degrees, raising risks of heat stroke.

The rains have damaged key infrastructure such as highways and railways in the affected regions.

The government mobilized 75,000 troops and emergency workers and almost 80 helicopters for the search and rescue effort, Suga said.

About 70% of Japan's land is made up of mountains and hills, so homes are often built on steep slopes, or flood-prone flat plains below them.

Though the persistent rain has ended, officials warned of sudden showers and thunderstorms as well as of more landslides on steep mountainsides saturated over the weekend.

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