Residents were digging out a mud-caked area of Okayama Prefecture on Tuesday, as floodwaters from last week's record rainfall receded to reveal broad swaths of devastation from which it could take years to fully recover.

Mabicho, a district in the city of Kurashiki, was one of the hardest-hit areas in western Japan. With the sun now beating down on the destruction, road access to many parts of the area became possible Tuesday — a development expected to aid the delivery of water, food and emergency supplies.

Rescue workers — including Self-Defense Force personnel and local government authorities who were coordinating rescue and cleanup activities — arrived to find a very dusty landscape Tuesday afternoon, their vehicles making slow progress through roads caked with dried and drying mud in and around Mabicho.