Death Toll Rises in Japan Following Torrential Rain and Landslides

Japan Floods, Japan Landslides

Rescue crews in Japan continued to sift through muddy debris early Monday in their attempt to locate survivors of the torrential rains, flooding and landslides already responsible for the deaths of almost 100 people. Many remain missing in the aftermath of the treacherous weather conditions, with rising temperatures now bringing concerns of heatstroke among those left without water and power supplies.

According to NBC News, 94 individuals have been killed in the flooding which has caused millions to flee their own homes. The current death toll rivals the 98 fatalities suffered in a 2004 typhoon.

In addition to the personal devastation being experienced in this part of Japan, industrial manufacturing enterprises have also sustained serious setbacks, with Mazda Motor Corporation shuttering not only its Hiroshima headquarters, but also multiple production plants that are unable to receive parts supplies.Though isolated diesel and gas shortages near a Showa oil terminal were observed, overall refinery and terminal operations have not been disrupted, a small bright spot in the devastation seen elsewhere.

Those who have sought refuge in evacuation centers report having virtually nothing available in terms of clothing and other personal goods. While the weekend saw reductions in the scope of evacuation orders, roughly 2 million remain under such mandates or continue to be advised by fire and disaster authorities not to return home.

Mobilization of approximately 54,000 rescue personnel has occurred at an emergency management center at the office of the prime minister. Police, fire and military officials continue to make their way across the western and southwestern portions of the country to aid in rescue and recovery initiatives.

Though Japanese authorities exercise vigilance in monitoring the weather and issuing warnings to the citizenry in prompt fashion, certain characteristics of the nation make it extremely vulnerable to natural disasters. Population density, mountainous conditions and lack of open and undeveloped land serve to exacerbate the risk of landslides and flooding following heavy rain.

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