TOKYO – The death toll in torrential rains in southwestern Japan climbed to 157, while 56 people were reported missing, public broadcaster NHK reported on Tuesday.
Heavy rainfall has been lashing the country since Thursday, especially the western prefectures of Hiroshima and Ehime, and have caused floods and landslides that destroyed property and completely cut off several towns.
Most deaths have been reported from the prefectures of Hiroshima, Okayama and Ehime.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe announced on Tuesday that the government will use about $18 million from its reserve fund to provide relief to areas affected by the heavy rainfall.
Some areas are reportedly experiencing shortages of daily necessities.
Around 73,000 troops of the Japan Self-Defense Forces, police and firefighters are still working to rescue survivors more than 72 hours after the rains began.
More than 23,000 people continue to live in temporary shelters Tuesday, according to NHK.
Rainfall caused rivers to flood, inundating entire towns, where water rose three meters (9.8 feet) high at some points, and caused serious damage to buildings, roads, bridges and other infrastructure.
Some 51,000 houses were left without electricity in six prefectures while more than 260,000 households suffered water cuts in 13 other prefectures on Monday, explained the Japanese government.
This is one of the worst and deadliest disaster to have hit Japan since heavy rains in 1982 which had left about 300 people dead.