Japan's PM Abe cancels overseas trip after floods kill 114

Flooding and landslides caused by record rains are believed to have killed more than 100 people, with scores missing.

    According to reports, most of the fatalities in the flooding were from the southwestern Hiroshima Prefecture [Kyodo/Reuters]
    According to reports, most of the fatalities in the flooding were from the southwestern Hiroshima Prefecture [Kyodo/Reuters]

    Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has cancelled a four-country foreign trip as the death toll from flooding and landslides caused by record rains reached 114, local media said Monday.

    Abe had been expected to visit Belgium, France, Saudi Arabia and Egypt from Wednesday. His office has yet to issue a formal statement.

    Separately, ruling Liberal Democratic Party Secretary-General Toshihiro Nikai told reporters after meeting Abe on Monday that cancelling the trip was "unavoidable" in view of the disaster, which inundated large swaths of western Japan, Kyodo news agency said.

    According to reports, Abe has also promised that the government will provide financial support to residents affected by the disaster. 

    The government is also providing relief supplies and food to people at evacuation centres.  

    Meanwhile, the national public broadcaster, NHK quoted officials as saying that the death toll had reached 114.

    Officials were quoted as saying that the death toll "may rise" as the extent of the damage remains unknown.

    It also reported that three other people are in critical condition, while 61 remain missing.

    The country's Asahi Shimbun newspaper reported that most of the fatalities were from the southwestern Hiroshima Prefecture, where more than 40 people were reported killed.

    Aerial images published by Asahi Shimbun showed several homes in Hiroshima completely destroyed by mudslides and roads and train tracks cut off due to landslides.

    Authorities said that rescue and recovery efforts are ongoing.

    According to the AccuWeather website, it will be mostly warm and cloudy in Japan, with possible showers in some parts of the country on Tuesday. 

    A rescue helicopter flies over a flooded area in southwest Okayama Prefecture [Kyodo/Reuters]

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and news agencies


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