Photo/IllutrationRescue workers on July 11 search for survivors in the Tennonishijo district of Kure, Hiroshima Prefecture. (Shigetaka Kodama)

  • Photo/Illustraion

As the death toll from the deluge in western Japan reached 169 on July 11, concerns rose about further casualties from heatstroke, lack of clean water and the collapse of weakened infrastructure.

Landslide warnings are still in effect in many areas, and new evacuation orders have been issued.

The central government has designated the torrential rains a “serious disaster,” a category that will lead to increased financial aid for recovery efforts and allow the use of a reserved fund for support.

Hiroshima and Okayama prefectures have been hit particularly hard by the downpours that had continued for days.

Of the 169 confirmed deaths in 13 prefectures, 67 were in Hiroshima Prefecture and 56 were in Okayama Prefecture. Twenty-six people were killed in Ehime Prefecture.

The figures were calculated by The Asahi Shimbun as of 1 p.m. on July 11.

At least 79 people were still missing, including 41 in Hiroshima Prefecture and 32 in Okayama Prefecture.

Also in Hiroshima Prefecture, residents in the Koge area of Fukuyama city’s Kumanocho district reported water spilling from cracks in a nearby reservoir at 7:50 a.m. The city ordered 25 households to evacuate the area at 8:41 a.m.

The city also issued evacuation orders in the Kannabecho Nishi-Chujo district, where two reservoirs were reported broken at 11:14 a.m.

The summer heat is also a concern.

According to the Japan Meteorological Agency, the mercury on July 11 is expected to reach 34 degrees in Okayama city, 33 degrees in Hiroshima city, and 33 degrees in Matsuyama, capital of Ehime Prefecture.

As of 11 a.m., the temperature was 32 degrees in Seiyo, Ehime Prefecture, and Takahashi, Okayama Prefecture, and 30.8 degrees in Hiroshima’s Naka Ward.

According to the health ministry, 255,237 households were without water supplies as of 8 p.m. on July 10, including: 93,279 in Kure, Hiroshima Prefecture; 58,647 in Onomichi, Hiroshima Prefecture; 38,856 in Mihara, Hiroshima Prefecture; 9,859 in Ozu, Ehime Prefecture; and 8,900 in Kurashiki, Okayama Prefecture.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe on the morning of July 11 took a 45-minute flight on a Self-Defense Forces helicopter to view the damage in Okayama Prefecture. From above, he checked the flooding caused by a broken river dike in Kurashiki as well as a landslide in Takahashi.

The prime minister then visited two evacuation shelters in Kurashiki and listened to victims describe their experiences and requests.

He and Okayama Governor Ryuta Ibaragi also exchanged opinions about victim support and recovery work.

Abe will visit other damaged prefectures on July 13 and 15.