Torrential downpours slammed southwestern Japan Saturday, causing treacherous flooding that has left 88 people dead and 58 missing, according to the Associated Press.
People fled to rooftops and balconies to keep above rising waters, waving to hovering helicopters for rescue. Footage showed a residential area in Okayama prefecture inundated in brown water, spreading quickly like a massive lake. Forty helicopters were sent on rescue missions.
“Rescue efforts are a battle with time,” Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told the AP. “The rescue teams are doing their utmost.”
Okayama prefecture said a man caught in a landslide died, and six others were missing. Evacuation orders had been issued to more than 360,000 people, the prefecture said in a statement.
Throughout the affected areas, parked cars sat in pools of water. NHK, Japan’s national public broadcasting organization, said water had reached as high as 16 feet in the worst-hit areas