More than 80 people killed after massive floods hit Japan

A landslide blocks National Route No. 156 in Gujo Gifu Prefecture

The Japan Meteorological Agency said three hours of rainfall in one area in Kochi prefecture reached an accumulated 26.3 centimetres, the highest since such records started in 1976. Authorities warned that landslides could strike even after rain subsides as the calamity shaped up to be potentially the worst in decades.

Japanese government spokesman Yoshihide Suga said the whereabouts of 92 other people were unknown, mostly in the southern area of Hiroshima prefecture.

Meanwhile, as rescue operations continued, landslide warnings were issued in more than a quarter of the nation's prefectures and evacuation orders remained in place for at least two million people.

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.

Historic, heavy rains in southwest Japan has led to 38 fatalities, at least 50 reported missing, and over 4.72 million residents ordered or advised to evacuate their homes.

The death toll from what's described as "historical rainfall" doubled early Sunday, with local television showing overflowing rivers, submerged vehicles, collapsed roads and homes crushed under landslides.

Rescue workers are seen next to houses damaged by a landslide following heavy rain in Hiroshima, Japan, in this photo taken by Kyodo July 7, 2018. A lot of them were rescued by boats or helicopters.

Abe asked his cabinet to take "every measure to prevent the disaster from worsening by taking advance actions", Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said.

"The rescue teams are doing their utmost".

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The agency is also maintaining the same warning that has been issued to Gifu Prefecture.

"The kids could not climb up to the rooftop", she said.

The floodwaters slowly receded in Kurashiki city's Mabi district, one of the hardest hit areas, leaving a thick coat of brown mud, as residents returned from evacuation centers and hotels to tackle the mess.

The government has set up an emergency management centre at the prime minister's office.

"There are still many people missing and others in need of help, we are working against time", said Abe.

The Kyodo news agency said around 1,850 people in the area had been trapped on the roofs of buildings, and that the land ministry planned to mobilise 20 trucks to begin pumping water out of flooded areas and restore access.

Although evacuation orders were scaled back from the weekend, almost 2 million people still face orders or advice to keep away from homes, fire and disaster officials said.

"I was in a vehicle and massive floods of water gushed towards me from the front and back and then engulfed the road".

Japan mobilized tens of thousands of army troops, police and firefighters to undertake rescue efforts.

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