Several days of torrential rain has battered southwest Japan, causing flooding and mudslides, with a death toll of 157.
Around 54,000 rescuers from the military, police and fire departments have been dispatched and are combing through mud-covered hillsides to look for the 60 people still unaccounted for, according to officials.
Most of the missing people are said to be in the hardest-hit Hiroshima area, with Okayama and Ehime prefectures also affected.
As of this morning, the Fire and Disaster Management Agency said 157 people have been confirmed dead.
Many residents were caught off guard by the heavy rain, which began on Friday and worsened over the weekend.
After the rain stopped on Monday, many returned to their homes to begin the cleanup.
As per the ABC, evacuation orders are in place for nearly 2 million people and landslide warnings have been issued in many prefectures.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told reporters: “There are still many people missing and others in need of help, we are working against time.
“The rescuers are doing their utmost.”
Rescuers fear the death toll will continue to rise as they begin operations in areas more difficult to access.
An official at the JMA told a news conference: “This is a situation of extreme danger.”
With temperatures rising as high as 34-degrees Celsius, many people lined up for water tanks, while others remained trapped on the roof of their homes.
The Japanese Government set up an emergency office over the weekend, and dozens of residents have taken shelter in evacuation centres where supplies such as water, blankets and cellphone chargers have been provided.
Featured image credit: Time (STR/AFP/Getty Images)