Dozens killed in Japan flooding, landslides

The swollen Kamo River is seen following heavy rain near the Sanjo Ohashi Bridge in Kyoto

"The situation is extremely serious", Shinzo Abe, the prime minister, said as he called for an "all-out" rescue effort.

Travelers planning to visit regions of Japan including Hiroshima and Kyoto should stay away for the time being due to the danger of deadly rains and flooding, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) said Saturday.

Emergency warnings for severe rain remain in effect for three prefectures, with 300mm predicted to fall by Monday morning in parts of the smallest main island of Shikoku.

As of 11 p.m. on July 6, evacuation orders had been issued to about 2.82 million people and evacuation advisories had been issued to some 4.22 million people in 23 prefectures, a lot of them in the Kinki, Kyushu and Chugoku regions in western Japan.

A residential area in Okayama Prefecture, on the main island of Honshu, was seeped in brown water spreading like a huge lake.

Flooding and landslides are hampering rescue operations.

The toll in record rains that have devastated parts of Japan rose Sunday to at least 44, officials said, with authorities issuing new warnings as torrential downpours continued.

The agency said that although a weather front had settled between western and eastern Japan, there was a risk that heavy rains would continue as warm air flowed towards the front.

"We recognize more than 100 cases in which people, including those hit by landslides, are in need of rescue now", Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told a press conference Saturday.

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Roads are covered in mud waters after a landslide caused by heavy rains in Aki, Hiroshima prefecture, south-western Japan, on Saturday.

Officials in Kyoto said they were working to control flooding at several dams and confirmed the death of a 52-year-old woman.

"We are doing our best".

In Ehime prefecture, a woman was found dead on the second floor of a home hit by a landslide, Kyodo said.

"The kids could not climb up to the rooftop", she said.

Although Japan is among the most modernised of Asian nations, rural areas are hit hard by the rainy season each year, often resulting in casualties and heavy damage. "Rescue us quickly. Help us".

Japan's Self Defence Forces dispatched 180 personnel and 50 vehicles to Kyoto as trains across western and central Japan were stopped, including part of one Shinkansen bullet train line.

By Sunday morning, high level alerts had been lifted for some affected areas as the rain began to ease.

At least 10 people are believed to have been buried alive by mudslides in Hiroshima Prefecture, according to Kyodo News.

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