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At least 37 dead, dozens missing after Japan mudslides
July 7 (UPI) — Rescue workers in Japan were searching Saturday for dozens of people missing after heavy rains inundated western areas, causing mudslides that killed at least 37 people.
Japan Meteorological Agency said a front in western and eastern Japan will continue to bring rain through Sunday, hampering rescue efforts from the storm’s torrential rainfall that began earlier in the week.
In a 24-hour period ending Saturday morning, more than 22 inches of rain fell in Motoyama, a town on the southern Shikoku Island, the weather service said.
As of Saturday, at least 67 people were missing with the majority in Hiroshima, 47, while others were unaccounted for in Ehime and Okayama Prefecture. Of those killed, 16 were in Ehime and 13 in Hiroshima.
Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said about 48,000 emergency personnel had been mobilized to rescue the stranded. Some people perched on rooftops called for help and others clung to trees while waiting to be rescued.
Defense Minister Itsunori Onodera said 21,000 troops were on stand-by.
More than 1 million people were forced to flee their homes and another 3 million were advised to evacuate. The floods swept away bridges, disrupted train services and shut down manufacturing plants.
Also on Saturday, a 5.9-magnitude earthquake struck south of Tokyo, the U.S. Geological Survey said. The quake caused buildings to shake but there were no immediate reports of damage or injuries.