Japan struggled this week to restore services after its worst weather disaster in 36 years killed at least 176 people.
Rain unleashed floods and landslides in western Japan last week. Survivors are facing health risks from high temperatures and a lack of water. About 67 people are missing, the Japanese government said.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe (pronounced AH-bay) has canceled an overseas trip to oversee efforts to provide support.
The flood forced several million people from their homes. More than 200,000 people remain without water, with temperatures reaching 91 degrees in some of the hardest-hit areas.
Japan issued weather warnings early, but some residents of the town of Mabi had shrugged off the warnings.
“We had evacuation orders before and nothing happened, so I just thought this was going to be the same,” said Kenji Ishii, 57, who stayed at home with his family.
But they were soon surrounded by rising floodwaters, and a military boat had to rescue them from the second floor of their home.
Most of the deaths in hard-hit Hiroshima were from landslides in areas where homes had been built up against steep slopes, said Takashi Tsuchida, a civil engineering professor at Hiroshima University.
“Everything was destroyed,” said a woman who was taking shelter in a gym with her brother and parents. “We don’t know how long we’re allowed to stay here. Finding a place to live in, even if it’s temporary, is our top priority.”
A new evacuation order went out Tuesday in a part of Hiroshima after a river blocked by mud overflowed, affecting 23,000 people.
Another storm, Typhoon Maria, was bearing down on neighboring islands but had weakened from a super-typhoon and was not expected to affect Japan’s four main islands.