Abe cancels trip to Europe, Middle East to deal with rain disaster

Japan flooding: Dozens dead as torrential rain triggers landslides

Japan: Heavy Rains and Landslides Leave Scores Dead and Missing

At least 100 people are thought to have died after record rainfall caused flooding and landslides in western Japan.

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 death toll from record rains that have devastated parts of Japan rose Sunday to at least 57, officials said, as rescue workers and troops struggled in the mud and water to save lives.

Due to the scale of the national disaster, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is to cancel a trip to four countries, so he can deal with the relevant ministries involved with the disaster, local media reported on Monday afternoon.

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In the town of Kumano in Hiroshima prefecture, rescue workers were still digging through the dirt of a landslide that enveloped homes over the weekend, crushing some into little more than scrap wood.

According to the Fire and Disaster Management Agency, evacuation orders or advisories had been issues to almost 6 million people spanning 19 prefectures. About 40 helicopters were out on rescue missions.

"We can not take baths, the toilet doesn't work and our food stockpile is running low", said Yumeko Matsui, whose home in the city of Mihara has been without water since Saturday. Officials in Ehime prefecture asked the central government to review weather warning systems, noting that rain warnings were issued after damage and casualties were already reported, a possible cause of the devastation in the region. The ensuing mudslides destroyed homes and displaced tens of thousands of people, The Japan Times reported.

Evacuation orders were in place for almost 2 million people and landslide warnings were issued in many prefectures.

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Authorities said high temperatures were forecast for Monday, posing new challenges for the many people stuck in modestly equipped shelters with few possessions or damaged homes with no water or electricity.

Automaker Mazda Motor Corp. and Daihatsu Motor Co., have also suspended their operations in factories in Kyoto, Hiroshima, and Yamaguchi, keeping in mind the safety of the employees.

Landslide warnings were issued in more than a quarter of Japan's prefectures.

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