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1 month on, 3,600 still at shelters

Jiji Press

Residents pray for a victim of floods in the Mabi district of Kurashiki, Okayama Prefecture, on Monday.

Jiji PressOKAYAMA/HIROSHIMA (Jiji Press) — Some 3,600 people were still at shelters and about 24,000 people remained under evacuation orders on Monday, one month after the first special warnings on torrential rain were issued before a disaster mainly in western Japan.

The death toll from floods and landslides caused by the rain has reached 219 in 14 of the country’s 47 prefectures, with 11 people unaccounted for in three prefectures.

Police officers, firefighters and Self-Defense Forces troops are continuing their search operations.

In locations in disaster-hit areas, people offered prayers for those who lost their lives one month ago.

At one shelter in the Mabi district in Kurashiki, Okayama Prefecture, about 30 residents and staff members joined hands to mourn the victims. A total of 51 people died in Mabi.

During a one-minute silent prayer at the shelter, Yutaka Sumasu, 85, a resident of Mabi, remembered his late relative, Seishiro Sumasu, 92, who was union head at a local agricultural cooperative.

“He was stubborn but trusted by everyone,” said Sumasu, whose house was destroyed in the disaster.

The government has decided to spend ¥105.8 billion from reserve funds to finance reconstruction in rain-hit areas, hoping to help affected people rebuild their lives in cooperation with local governments and private entities.

“The central government will work together with affected local governments to help achieve reconstruction,” Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told a press conference in Tokyo on Monday. “We’ll implement the necessary measures with a sense of speed.”

Up to 260,000 households had no running water in the rain-hit region, but the number had fallen to 8,074 as of Thursday, according to the Health, Labor and Welfare Ministry.

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