Japan rescuers search house to house as flood toll hits 141

Severe rainfall leaves dozens dead in Japan

It's also one of the deadliest natural disasters to hit the island nation since an quake struck off the coast of Tohoku in 2011, triggering a massive tsunami that crippled the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Plant. "Rivers overflowed, turning towns into lakes, leaving dozens of people stranded on rooftops". Dozens of people died after similar rains caused flooding around the same time previous year.

Around 23,000 people are now in evacuation centers after fleeing the historic deluge and 73,000 disaster response workers have been recruited to assist in rescue efforts.

Officials have evacuated about two million people after rives banks burst.

Authorities have warned that landslides could strike even if the rainfall diminishes.

Some 276,000 households now lack water supply, Kyodo news agency reported.

Over 70,000 emergency workers have been deployed to dig through flood waters and the aftermath of landslides that have transformed the landscape in parts of central and western Japan.

Several major manufacturers, including carmakers Daihatsu and Mitsubishi, suspended operations at plants in the affected areas. Six people are in critical condition, and dozens are still missing, the public broadcaster NHK reported on Sunday.

"We've never had this kind of rain before", a Japanese Meteorological Agency official said.

More than 70,000 rescue workers, including the fire service and the army, are now involved in relief efforts.

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In another hard-hit town, Ozu in Ehime prefecture, water supplies were entirely cut off and residents could not clean their mud-stained homes, or even their clothes.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe called the situation "extremely serious" and ordered his government to "make an all-out effort" to rescue victims.

Abe has seen his support rates rebound after slumping over a suspected cronyism scandal and is keen to prevent any declines ahead of a ruling-party leadership race in September.

Top government spokesman Yoshihide Suga said Tuesday that at least 141 people had been killed. "Some people have been isolated, calling for rescue". At the same time, it has been impossible to confirm the security and location of 78 others, " Suga told a news conference. Power and water outages were common, and damage to roads and railway tracks disrupted deliveries of food and relief supplies.

At the moment a team of 54,000 rescuers composed of members of the military, police and fire departments has been dispatched across the west and southwest of Japan.

"I saw the tremendous scars (left by the rain)", Abe said following his visit to Okayama Prefecture on Wednesday during a task force meeting, while revealing that the government has secured about 71,000 dwellings as temporary housing for people affected by the disaster.

Rescue workers carried out house-to-house searches Tuesday in the increasingly unlikely hope of finding survivors after days of deadly floods and landslides that have claimed 141 lives in one of Japan's worst weather-related disasters for decades.

The number of people who have died in floods and landslides triggered by "historic" levels of torrential rain in Japan climbed to 94 on Monday, with the eventual death toll expected to exceed 100.

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