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Monday, October 26, 2020  Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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Abe visiting flood-hit western Japan as deaths reach 176

Rescuers work at a mudslide area during a search operation Wednesday, July 11, 2018, in Kumano town, Hiroshima prefecture, southwestern Japan. Rescuers were combing through mud-covered hillsides and along riverbanks Tuesday searching for dozens of people missing after heavy rains unleashed flooding and mudslides in southwestern Japan. (Kota Endo / AP)
Rescuers work at a mudslide area during a search operation Wednesday, July 11, 2018, in Kumano town, Hiroshima prefecture, southwestern Japan. Rescuers were combing through mud-covered hillsides and along riverbanks Tuesday searching for dozens of people missing after heavy rains unleashed flooding and mudslides in southwestern Japan. (Kota Endo / AP)
Associated Press

HIROSHIMA, Japan – Japan’s government says 176 people have been confirmed dead after last week’s heavy rains in western Japan as Prime Minister Shinzo Abe visits a hard-hit city.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga said Wednesday that Abe would visit an evacuation center in Kurashiki, a city where a river broke through an embankment and swept through residential areas, killing more than 40 people.

Tens of thousands of rescue and recovery workers and volunteers are digging through the debris, as the search for dozens still missing enters its fifth day.

Record-setting rainfall caused severe flooding and landslides, toppling and burying homes across a wide area. Most of the deaths were in Hiroshima and the surrounding area.

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