• Kyodo

  • SHARE

Police continued their search Monday for 15 people missing since last week’s torrential rains and floods in eastern and northeastern Japan.

The death toll from the disaster stood at seven as of Monday evening.

Three men were confirmed dead Sunday in Ibaraki and Tochigi prefectures, including two found in Joso, Ibaraki Prefecture, where the Kinugawa River burst its banks Thursday and inundated residential areas.

The body of Kanaya Kurita, 71, was found in an area where the Joso Municipal Government had not issued an evacuation order before the river breached its banks.

Joso Mayor Toru Takasugi offered an apology Sunday for the delay in issuing evacuation orders to some residents living on the east side of the river.

“I’m very sorry. I never expected the levee to break and failed to inform residents in areas where there were no reports about the river rising,” Takasugi told a news conference. The evacuation order was issued to about 350 households only after the river had flooded.

In Tokyo, Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said Monday the government will further examine how such a massive disaster occurred.

On the delay in issuing evacuation orders in some area of Joso, Suga said cities need to be prepared to act quickly in such situations.

Some 3,000 people were still in evacuation centers in Ibaraki Prefecture as of Monday, the central government said.

On Monday, police and Self-Defense Force personnel continued to look for missing people in flooded homes in Joso, while workers engaged in efforts to restore water supplies and other utilities. Some elementary and junior high schools resumed classes.

“The city is not yet restored and the situation remains extremely tough,” said Tokyo police officer Shohei Komatsu, who was sent to the area to help out. “I will work hard, placing top priority on finding the missing.”

Over 200 Tokyo police officers have been sent to Joso since Thursday.

Meanwhile, some evacuated homes were found to have been broken into and items stolen, leading the Ibaraki Prefectural Police to increase patrols.

Three people died in Tochigi Prefecture, two died in Ibaraki Prefecture and another two were confirmed dead in Miyagi Prefecture.

Work crews were continuing efforts to restore power and water services.

Tokyo Electric Power Co. said it had crews working around the clock to fix power outages.

Some 8,000 households were still without clean water as of Monday evening.

Volunteers provided various kinds of support to evacuees at shelters, while people from areas where the floodwaters had receded returned home to begin the cleanup.

RELATED PHOTOS

Coronavirus banner