Nearly 76 people have died and dozens are missing in Japan on Monday after three days of torrential rain made rivers burst their banks.
Continued rainfall fermented disaster warnings on the south-western main islands of Kyushu and Shikoku. The local media reported the death toll had risen overnight to 76, with 92 people missing.
Rescue workers and troops have been struggling in the mud and water to save lives.
The torrential downpours have caused flash flooding and landslides across central and western parts of the country, prompting evacuation orders for more than two million people.
“Rescues, saving lives and evacuations are a race against time,” Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said as he met a government crisis cell set up to respond to the disaster.
“There are still many people whose safety has yet to be confirmed,” he added
The exact number of injuries and deaths is difficult because of the wide area affected by the rainfall, flooding and landslides.
Entire villages have been engulfed by flooding, submerging streets up to roof level. In some places, just the top of traffic lights could be seen above the rising waters.
“My house was simply washed away and completely destroyed,” Toshihide Takigawa, a 35-year-old employee at a gas station in Hiroshima, told the Nikkei daily on Saturday.
> Shiuly Rina