The number of people who have died in floods and landslides triggered by “historic” levels of torrential rain in Japan climbed to 94 on Monday, with the eventual death toll expected to exceed 100.
Almost 2 million people were still subject to evacuation orders, while tens of thousands of rescue workers battled mud, water and rubble to search for survivors stranded in their homes.
The heaviest rainfall seen in Japan for decades has caused destruction over large parts of the country, particularly in the south-west, where 58 people are missing. Security forces are trying to rescue people from buildings, some of them stranded on rooftops just metres above the waterline.
On Sunday, the prime minister, Shinzo Abe, said efforts to locate those still stranded had turned into a “race against time”. In one of the most dramatic rescues, patients and staff – some still in their pyjamas – were helped from the balcony of a hospital in the city of Kurashiki on Sunday and rowed to safety on military paddle boats.