|[Published: Sunday July 08 2018]
Rains strand 1,850, kill 69 in Japan
KURASHIKI, Japan 8 Jul (ANA) - Unprecedented rains that have killed at least 69 people also stranded 1,850 in the western Japanese city of Kurashiki on Sunday, including about 130 at a hospital, with rescuers using helicopters and boats after rivers surged over their banks.
Kurashiki, with a population of just under 500,000, has been hit hardest by the torrential rains that pounded some parts of western Japan, causing the highest death toll since 2014.
Scores of patients, some still in their pyjamas, and nurses were rescued from the isolated Mabi Memorial Hospital in boats rowed by members of Japan’s Self Defence Forces.
“I’m most grateful to rescuers,” said Shigeyuki Asano, a 79-year-old patient who spent a night without electricity or water.
“I feel so relieved that I am now liberated from such a bad-smelling, dark place,” said Asano.
A city official said 170 patients and workers had been evacuated from the hospital and another 130 people, including 70 patients, were waiting to be rescued.
The overall death toll from the rains in Japan rose to at least 69 on Sunday after floodwaters forced several million people from their homes, media reports and the Fire and Disaster Management Agency said.
The death toll is the highest caused by water disasters since 2014 when 77 people were killed in heavy rain which set off landslides in Hiroshima in western Japan.
Another 61 were missing, NHK said, and more rain was set to hit some areas for at least another day.
The rain set off landslides and flooded rivers, trapping many people in their houses or on rooftops.
“We’ve never experienced this kind of rain before,” an official at the Japanese Meteorological Agency (JMA) told a news conference. “This is a situation of extreme danger”.
Among the missing was a 9-year-old boy believed trapped in his house by a landslide that killed at least three others, including a man in his 80s.
“All I have is what I’m wearing,” a rescued woman clutching a toy poodle told NHK. “We had fled to the second floor but then the water rose more, so we went up to the third floor”.(ANA)
FA/ANA/8 July 2018--------