FUKUOKA – The number of deaths in flood-hit southwestern Japan climbed to 34 Monday, with seven more people still unaccounted for, as volunteer workers helped rebuilding efforts on the last day of a long weekend.
Some 2,700 Self-Defense Forces personnel and firefighters continued their search for the missing people, while around 9,000 volunteers worked over the three-day holiday weekend to clear mud and damaged furniture from houses.
But their work was temporarily suspended Monday as evacuation orders were issued to some 16,000 residents in about almost 6,000 households in the city of Asakura and the village of Toho, both in Fukuoka Prefecture, due to potential heavy rain. They were among the areas hit hardest by torrential rain that began July 5.
The acceptance of volunteers began in Hita, Oita Prefecture, on July 8 and has spread to other areas affected by the heavy rain and flooding, with their work continuing amid soaring temperatures.
The mercury hit 34.8 in Asakura and 36.2 in Hita on Monday, according to the Meteorological Agency.
In the meantime, two bodies recovered from the Ariake Sea, several dozen kilometers from the disaster-hit area, were identified as Yukie Kojima, 70, and Kazuko Ide, 59, both from Asakura.
All of the five bodies so far found in the sea have been determined as the victims of the disaster.