Japanese PM to meet flood evacuees as death toll rises to 179

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Some residents of Mabi had shrugged off the warnings given the area's history of floods.

Rescuers searched for survivors in flooded areas and landslides after several days of heavy rain.

Remnants of Typhoon Prapiroon fed into a seasonal rainy weather front fueled by warm air from the Pacific Ocean - a pattern similar to one that caused flooding in southwestern Japan exactly a year ago that killed dozens on people.

Below are some reasons for the high death toll.

A quarter of flood-prone Mabi district of Kurashiki, sandwiched between two rivers, was inundated after a levee crumbled under the force of the torrent.

And with many people stuck in modestly equipped shelters with few possessions, or living in damaged homes with no running water or electricity, the rising temperatures posed a new problem, authorities said.

Israel-based worldwide aid group iAid said it was looking for support to send a team to Japan to help provide clean water and electricity.

"So many people called".

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told reporters Monday at least 80 people were still unaccounted for.

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"I forgot to bring it with me", he said. Nationwide, some four million people have been advised, though not ordered, to evacuate their homes and about 30,000 are in temporary evacuation centers, news agencies reported.

In the town of Motoyama, about 600km (370 miles) west of the capital Tokyo, 583mm (23in) of rain fell between Friday morning and Saturday morning, Japan's meteorological agency said.

Japan's government set up an emergency management centre at the prime minister's office and some 54‚000 rescuers from the military‚ police and fire departments were dispatched across a wide swath of south-western and western Japan.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe canceled a planned July 11-18 trip to Europe and the Middle East to oversee the emergency response.

To ensure smooth transportation of relief goods, the government also chose to treat trucks that usually deliver products to convenience stores and others as emergency vehicles.

Refineries and oil terminals were not affected but blockages in roads leading to one Showa Shell oil terminal in Hiroshima caused gas and diesel shortages nearby.

The Government mobilised 75,000 troops and emergency workers and almost 80 helicopters for the search and rescue effort, Mr Suga said.

Images from Saka, a small town on the southern coast of Hiroshima Prefecture, show cars buried in mud. At a major supermarket in town, employees sold bottled water and tea, cups of noodles and other preserved foods that survived the floods, while employees cleaned damaged merchandise, throwing items into dozens of plastic bags.

The government said it would tap around $20 million in reserve funds to provide aid to those affected by the disaster. The Associated Press reported that 10.4 inches of rain accumulated in its Kochi Prefecture in just three hours and that landslide warnings were issued for the entire island.

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