At least 134 confirmed dead as Japan combs through mud for missing

Severe rainfall leaves dozens dead in Japan

The overall death toll in Japan's worst flood disaster since 1983 has, as of last night, risen to 179, according to broadcaster NHK.

The bad weather unfolded earlier this week as the remnants of a typhoon hit western Japan. Rescue workers were still digging through the aftermath of flash floods and landslides that swallowed whole neighbourhoods, but hopes were fading that any new survivors could be found.

Abe visited an evacuation center Wednesday in a hard-hit flood zone in western Japan.

The rain has severed transportation in the region, with the transport ministry saying West Japan Railway Co. and other railway operators of 27 train lines suffered damage at more than 100 locations.

This time, five people who are qualified under the DHEAT system, including doctors and public health nurses from a team in Nagasaki Prefecture, have been dispatched to Kurashiki.

Fumiko Inokuchi, 61, was inside her home, sorting through the damage caused by floods that submerged the entire first floor. "We can accept losing things like home appliances, but memories", she said, her voice trailing off. While hoping, "I want them to rescue my neighbor as quickly as possible", she also says with a anxious expression, "I can't take shelter here forever, but if they don't get the water back running".

"We can accept losing things like home appliances, but.it hurts that our memories are all gone", said Hiroko Fukuda.

Among the things ruined by the flooding were Fukuda's kimonos, including a "furisode" worn on special occasions.

"I forgot to bring it with me", he said.

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Naoaki Ogawa, 68, was still at home with his wife, daughter and grandson on Friday night, when they saw a wave of mud carrying trees and cars with it tumble down the hill above and engulf the neighbouring house.

About 300 people spent the night at the Okada Elementary School in Okayama prefecture, with many of them sleeping on blue mats in the school's gym.

All rain warnings were lifted.

In the town of Uwajima in Ehime Prefecture, a 63-year-old man was buried alive in his house due to landslides.

Policemen remove debris during search operations for missing people in a flooded area in Asakura.

"We can not take baths, the toilet doesn't work and our food stockpile is running low", said Yumeko Matsui, whose home in the city of Mihara has been without water since Saturday. "In no way can I say that we are safe now, there's no telling if or when water could gush out again".

Japan's Meteorological Agency cautioned that landslides and flooding would continue to pose a risk to residents, even as rains abated on Monday. Phone lines and electricity generators also took a beating, as did water sources and other basic necessities. Rescuers are digging through mud and rubble for survivors.

The Prime Minister, Shinzo Abe, instructed to spare no effort to locate the disappeared and rescue as many people as possible. But almost a week after the rains first began, hopes that missing people could still be alive have dwindled.

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