Floods and landslides in Japan claim 15 lives. Massive rescue effort underway to save survivors. Aerial rescue efforts being pressed to expedite salvage work.

Floods in Japan.

PICS : Enquirer.net

PICS : Enquirer.net

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Heavy rains continued to wreak havoc in Asakura, Fukuoka prefecture, southwestern Japan, on Friday, July 7, 2017. The result was the collapse of several houses with most of them buried under hillocks of accumulated mud.
The devastation followed the Typhoon Nanmadol passing through the southern main island of Kyushu. Last week witnessed the heaviest rains in spite of continuous alerts and warnings by the weathermen.
Consequently, 15 people perished even as rescue efforts continue to search for survivors at vulnerable points. A major portion of Kyushu Island was reeling under the anger of overflowing rivers. This destroyed structures and swept away roads and highways.
Meanwhile, a large number of rescuers worked tirelessly to extract survivors and dead bodies. Jiji Press reported hundreds of survivors still out of reach of the rescue squads.
Both Jiji and public broadcaster NHK confirmed the tentative figure of 15 dead after dead bodies emerged. However, the central government announced on Friday that 7 people died and 22 still untraced.
The rescue efforts were slow and laborious due to heavy accumulation of mud. In addition, rocks and portions of bridges are an impediment to speedy salvage work.
TV showed footage of rescuers struggling on muddy slopes to keep their balance while extracting survivors and dead bodies. Cables lifted survivors to helicopters to carry them to the safety of evacuation shelters.
Broken trees lay helter-skelter amidst green mountainous slopes blocking passage under heavy cloud cover. Aerial TV crews could spot desperate, stranded residents waving to attract attention of aerial rescue teams.
Fukuoka prefecture city of Asakura was one of the hardest hit. Rains exceeding 50 cm (about 20 inches) battered Asakura in 12 hours on Wednesday night. Reports about casualties and the stranded continued to reach the rescuers through various sources.
The stranded kept looking skywards straining to hear the sound of choppers as they awaited the rescuers.
Meanwhile, government sources deployed 12,000 police, military, firefighters and coast guard personnel for rescue operations.
Princess Mako, Emperor Akihito’s eldest granddaughter decided to postpone Saturday’s announcement of her engagement.
Japan’s Imperial Household Agency announced the postponement.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Umrao Singh
Written for: Lars-Magnus Carlsson.
Saturday, July 08, 2017