Tokyo | tens of thousands of rescuers were still mobilized on Monday in the south western areas of Japan ravaged by floods and landslides this weekend, which have caused dozens of deaths, according to a provisional report.
Nineteen people are dead and 18 more are in the ” cardio-respiratory arrest “, a term used in Japan before the official report of death by a physician, said Monday the government spokesman Yoshihide Suga in front of the press.
Thirteen people were still unaccounted for, while about 800 others had been rescued, he added.
“Rescuers continue without respite their research,” said Monday AFP a spokesman of the region of Kumamoto, on the island of Kyushu, where rain record fell early Saturday morning, causing overflowing rivers and flooding areas of low altitude.
Roads and bridges have been swept away by flood waters, cutting it off from the rest of the world in the most isolated communities.
In one of the most affected areas, people have written the words “rice, water”, ” SOS ” on the ground, while others were waving towels to call for help, according to images from a helicopter.
“We have received calls from people wishing to leave their homes but who can’t do it by themselves,” testified a firefighter in the surrounding area of Kagoshima interviewed on Monday by AFP.
Some roads were still flooded, making it impossible to move, has added to this fire, explaining that his team had been able to rescue 11 people up to the present with inflatable boats.
Precautions against the Covid-19
In a centre for elderly people in the area of Kumamoto, 14 people are presumed dead, drowned Saturday due to the flooding of the ground floor by a flooded river, which has prevented residents in a wheelchair to take refuge in the upper floors.
The emergency services and local residents managed to rescue fifty residents and staff of this retirement home nursing with the lifeboats.
Heavy rains are still expected in the area until Tuesday morning. The japan meteorological Agency has recommended that hundreds of thousands of people in the prefectures of Kumamoto and Kagoshima to evacuate their homes.
“It is such a disaster “, commented on the public tv channel NHK Hirotoshi Nishi, a resident which was damaged in the process of being removed from the debris in his house full of mud.
In addition to the bad weather persisted, the rescue operations were complicated by the risk of new infection by the coronavirus. Partitions have been installed in evacuation centers to maintain a physical distance, and the displaced were called to wash hands frequently and to wear masks.
Japan has been relatively unaffected so far by the global pandemic, with approximately 1 000 deaths to fewer than 20,000 cases of infections since the beginning of the health crisis. Most new infections at the current time are recorded in Tokyo.
Over 4 600 households in the affected areas were still without power Monday morning, and 7 000 households still lacked access to safe drinking water, said Mr Suga.
Prime minister Shinzo Abe had announced on Sunday the mobilization of 40 000 police officers, fire fighters, coast guard, and members of the self-defense Forces in japan to provide emergency relief to disaster victims and find missing persons.
The rainy season is in full swing in the japanese archipelago at this time, a period of high risk in terms of flooding, mudslides and landslides.
Two years ago at the same period, more than 200 people had died in terrible floods in the same region of Kyushu.