Hundreds of thousands of people in western Japan affected by devastating floods and landslides continued to struggle on Wednesday with water outages, while the death toll in the country's worst rain-related disaster in decades climbed to at least 176, with scores more still missing.

At least 254,084 homes are still cut off from water supplies in Hiroshima, Ehime and Okayama prefectures, those hardest hit by last week’s torrential rains, according to the welfare ministry.

About 1,100 homes in nine other prefectures, including Osaka, Yamaguchi and Tokushima, are also without water, and there are no estimated time scales for the supply being restored, the ministry said.