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Dozens killed in Japan floods

Dozens killed in Japan floods

Pope Francis expressed his "heartfelt solidarity" with all those affected by the worst flood disaster to strike western Japan in 35 years and said he is praying "especially for the repose of the deceased, the healing of those injured and the consolation of all those who grieve".

The overall death toll from the rains in Japan rose to at least 69 on Sunday after floodwaters forced several million people from their homes, media reports and the Fire and Disaster Management Agency said.

While there are thousands of police, firefighters, and soldiers are taking part in search and rescue missions, the flooding and landslides are hindering the rescue operations.

Drier weather is expected, however, in much of the country over the next few days as the band of rain responsible for the floods and landslides weaken while it drifts into the northwest Pacific.

A city official said 170 patients and workers had been evacuated from the hospital and another 130 people, including 70 patients, were waiting to be rescued.

Japanese government spokesman Yoshihide Suga said the whereabouts of 92 other people were unknown, mostly in the southern area of Hiroshima prefecture.

Oil mixed as USA crude stockpiles show surprise build
Iran's Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh talks to journalists at the beginning of an OPEC meeting in Vienna, Austria, June 22, 2018. Oil output cuts by OPEC and allies, including Russian Federation , since January 2017 have reduced a glut of crude.

Rescuers expanded their search for people missing and stranded in flooding and landslides, as evacuation orders or advisories remain in effect for 4.3 million people in 23 prefectures from central to southwestern Japan. Some 40 helicopters were out on rescue missions.

Rescue workers and troops have been struggling in the mud and water to save lives. A nine-year-old boy was among the dead and 78 people were missing, NHK said.

Television footage showed bridges and cars washed away by raging rivers and flood waters, with people perched on the roofs of their homes, surrounded by water and awaiting rescue.

Manufacturing was also hit hard by the heavy downpour and flooding, as major carmakers such as Mazda Motor Corp and Mitsubishi Motors Corp and manufacturer such as Panasonic Corp suspending operations at some plants in western Japan.

Evacuation orders have been scaled back from the weekend, but almost 2 million people are still ordered to stay away from their homes.

Other hard-hit regions where fatalities have been reported include Okayama, Ehime, Kyoto, Yamaguchi, Fukuoka, Kagoshima, Hyogo, Shiga, Gifu, Kochi and Saga prefectures. Bullet train services have also been suspended in most parts of western Japan.


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