Friday, February 15, 2019
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Japan PM meets evacuees in flood disaster zone; toll hits 179

JAPAN'S prime minister met Wednesday with people forced from their homes by devastating rains that have killed at least 179 people, as the government said it would review its disaster management plans.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who cancelled a foreign trip planned for this week as the disaster worsened, met some of the thousands of people still in shelters during a trip to the flood-ravaged Okayama area. He made no public comments, speaking briefly and privately with individuals, including an elderly lady who bowed slightly as the prime minister approached.
Dozens of people are still missing and the toll from the worst weather-related disaster in Japan in over three decades is expected to rise further.
With questions mounting about why the rains were so deadly, top government spokesman Yoshihide Suga said disaster management policies would be reexamined.
"In recent years we have seen damage from heavy rains that is much worse than in previous years,"he said.
"We have to review what the government can do to reduce the risks."
Rescue efforts are beginning to wind down, nearly a week after the rains began, and hopes that new survivors could be found have faded.
Over 10,000 people are still in shelters across large parts of central and western Japan, local media said.

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