HIROSHIMA, Japan (AP) — People are preparing for risky search and cleanup efforts in southwestern Japan, where several days of heavy rainfall had set off flooding and landslides in a widespread area. Japanese media reports said 88 people died and 58 people are missing.
Some residents in Hiroshima prefecture said they were caught off guard in a region not used to torrents of rainfall, which began Friday and worsened through the weekend. Rivers overflowed, turning towns into lakes, leaving dozens of people stranded on rooftops. Military paddle boats and helicopters were bringing people to dry land.
The assessment of casualties has been difficult because of the widespread area affected. Authorities warned that landslides could strike even after rain subsides as the calamity shaped up to be potentially the worst in decades.