TOKYO (AP) – Heavy rainfall hammered southern Japan for the third day, prompting new disaster warnings on Kyushu and Shikoku islands yesterday, as the government put the death toll at 48 with 28 others presumed dead.
Japanese government spokesman Yoshihide Suga said the whereabouts of 92 people are unknown, mostly in the southern area of Hiroshima prefecture.
More than 100 reports of casualties had been received, such as cars being swept away, he said. Some 40 helicopters were out on rescue missions.
“Rescue efforts are a battle with time,” Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told reporters. “The rescue teams are doing their utmost.”
The Japan Meteorological Agency said three hours of rainfall in one area in Kochi prefecture reached an accumulated 10.4 inches, the highest since such records started in 1976.
The assessment of casualties has been difficult because of the widespread area affected by the rainfall, flooding, and landslides. Authorities warned landslides could strike even after rain subsides as the calamity shaped up to be potentially the worst in decades.
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