TOKYO – The death toll from the flooding in southern Japan has risen to 199, while rescue and search efforts continue for more than 20 missing, according to data released by the government on Thursday.
Nearly 73,000 army, police and fire brigade personnel continue to look for the missing with the help of 83 helicopters and dozens of vessels, Japanese government spokesperson Yoshihide Suga said during a press conference.
At least 199 people have died and 23 are missing, while almost another hundred have not been located in the worst weather disaster in the country in 36 years, Suga said.
The spokesperson warned of the possibility of rain in the region over the next few days and expected high temperatures that could affect displaced people and rescue teams.
The record rainfall since last Thursday in the Japanese archipelago led to severe floods and landslides, particularly in Hiroshima, Ehime and Okayama prefectures where the disaster has ravaged thousands of homes and cut off access to several neighborhoods.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe visited Okayama on Wednesday and is set to travel to Ehime on Friday to monitor the ongoing rescue operations and provide assistance to those affected by the catastrophe, the spokesperson said.
Major firms that had to close facilities in the affected regions resumed operations after three days.
The Mitsubishi Motors plant in the Okayama prefecture resumed operations on Thursday.
Mazda Motor plants in Fuchu, Hiroshima prefecture, and Hofu in Yamaguchi prefecture, also resumed operations on Thursday, reported Kyodo news agency.
Panasonic, however, kept its video-camera manufacturing plant in Okayama closed for the fourth day and does not plan to resume production for at least a week as the floods in the facility have damaged the power supply, a company spokesperson told EFE.