The death toll from torrential rains which battered western Japan stood at 200, authorities said Thursday, as search and rescue (SAR) missions continue to locate dozens still missing in the wake of flooding and landslides.
More than 70,000 personnel are involved in the SAR missions for the 60 or more people still unaccounted for, in the areas affected by the deluge, reports Xinhua news agency.
It said these included the hardest-hit regions of Hiroshima, Okayama and Ehime prefectures, adding that according to the Fire and Disaster Management Agency, as of early Thursday morning, 6,700 people remained in emergency evacuation shelters.
As some of the shelters are without air-conditioning, the news agency said the health ministry warned of heat-related illnesses as according to the weather agency, daytime temperatures could reach 35 degrees Celsius in the coming week.
The health ministry, specifically, warned about the possibility of food poisoning as in the past, people had been taken ill in such shelters after consuming food that had been left out in the heat for too long amidst a lack of refrigerators.
About 240,000 homes have been affected in western Japan and the transportation system has also been severely disrupted.
According to the transport ministry, West Japan Railway Co and local operators of the 27 lines in the affected areas have reported damage at more than 100 locations and will be unable to restart services in the next few days.