Abe visiting flood-hit western Japan as deaths reach 176

Published 07-11-2018

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HIROSHIMA, Japan (AP) – Japan's government says 176 people have been confirmed dead after last week's heavy rains in western Japan as Prime Minister Shinzo Abe visits a hard-hit city.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said Wednesday that Abe would visit an evacuation center in Kurashiki, a city where a river broke through an embankment and swept through residential areas, killing more than 40 people.

Tens of thousands of rescue and recovery workers and volunteers are digging through the debris, as the search for dozens still missing enters its fifth day.

Record-setting rainfall caused severe flooding and landslides, toppling and burying homes across a wide area. Most of the deaths were in Hiroshima and the surrounding area.

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Destroyed houses are covered with mud at a damaged area in Hiroshima, southwestern Japan, Wednesday, July 11, 2018. Rescuers were combing through mud-covered hillsides and along riverbanks Tuesday searching for dozens of people missing after heavy rains unleashed flooding and mudslides in southwestern Japan. (AP Photo/Haruka Nuga) - The Associated Press


Police use sticks during a search operation at a mud-covered area in the aftermath of heavy rains in Kure, Hiroshima prefecture, southwestern Japan, Wednesday, July 11, 2018. Rescuers were combing through mud-covered hillsides and along riverbanks Tuesday searching for dozens of people missing after heavy rains unleashed flooding and mudslides in southwestern Japan. (Shingo Nishizume/Kyodo News via AP) - The Associated Press


Rescuers work at a mudslide area during a search operation in Kumano town, Hiroshima prefecture, southwestern Japan, Wednesday, July 11, 2018. Rescuers were combing through mud-covered hillsides and along riverbanks Tuesday searching for dozens of people missing after heavy rains unleashed flooding and mudslides in southwestern Japan. (Kota Endo/Kyodo News via AP) - The Associated Press


A police officer looks into a car buried in mud during a search operation in the aftermath of heavy rains in Kure, Hiroshima prefecture, southwestern Japan, Wednesday, July 11, 2018. Rescuers were combing through mud-covered hillsides and along riverbanks Tuesday searching for dozens of people missing after heavy rains unleashed flooding and mudslides in southwestern Japan. (Shingo Nishizume/Kyodo News via AP) - The Associated Press


A man carries his bicycle on a mud-covered street in Hiroshima, southwestern Japan, Wednesday, July 11, 2018. Rescuers were combing through mud-covered hillsides and along riverbanks Tuesday searching for dozens of people missing after heavy rains unleashed flooding and mudslides in southwestern Japan. (AP Photo/Haruka Nuga) - The Associated Press


Mud-covered cars sit in Hiroshima, southwestern Japan, Wednesday, July 11, 2018. Rescuers were combing through mud-covered hillsides and along riverbanks Tuesday searching for dozens of people missing after heavy rains unleashed flooding and mudslides in southwestern Japan. (AP Photo/Haruka Nuga) - The Associated Press


Damaged houses and a mud-covered road are seen in the aftermath of heavy rains in Hiroshima, southwestern Japan, Wednesday, July 11, 2018. Rescuers were combing through mud-covered hillsides and along riverbanks Tuesday searching for dozens of people missing after heavy rains unleashed flooding and mudslides in southwestern Japan. (AP Photo/Haruka Nuga) - The Associated Press


A residents clear the mud around a building in Hiroshima, southwestern Japan, Wednesday, July 11, 2018. Rescuers were combing through mud-covered hillsides and along riverbanks Tuesday searching for dozens of people missing after heavy rains unleashed flooding and mudslides in southwestern Japan. (AP Photo/Haruka Nuga) - The Associated Press


Workers remove mud from the entrance to Kyoenji temple in Hiroshima, southwestern Japan, Wednesday, July 11, 2018. Rescuers were combing through mud-covered hillsides and along riverbanks Tuesday searching for dozens of people missing after heavy rains unleashed flooding and mudslides in southwestern Japan. (AP Photo/Haruka Nuga) - The Associated Press