In the city of Kurashiki, 500,000 people endured the worst of the flooding, with some forced to climb to the roof of a hospital to await rescue over the weekend. Some people escaped the water by climbing onto the top of their homes while waiting to be rescued by helicopter. He explained, "Rescues, saving lives and evacuations are a race against time".
Hideto Yamanaka was leading a team of around 60 firefighters dispatched from outside the prefecture searching homes.
Water still covered much of the hard-hit city of Kurashiki, despite ebbing floods that opened the route to a hospital where almost 100 patients and staff were stranded on Sunday.
Cars are trapped in mud as residents clean up after days of heavy rain hit southwestern Japan, in Hiroshima city, southwestern Japan, July 10, 2018.
"Since supplies have been given by people nationwide, we want to deliver them swiftly to accommodate the needs of evacuation centers", the official said.
A quarter of flood-prone Mabi district of Kurashiki, sandwiched between two rivers, was inundated after a levee crumbled under the force of the torrent.
Stores were still closed, and inside one barber's shop the red sofas, customer chairs, and standing hair dryers were all covered with the same silt.
And with the end of the rains, searing heat brought new risks, as blazing sun and temperatures up to 35 Celsius (95 Fahrenheit) posed challenges for people living in modestly equipped shelters or damaged homes with no electricity or running water.
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Another resident, 82-year-old Saburo Yokoyama, said he was horrified when he saw floodwater flowing just outside his house.
"I got married here, and we built this house two years afterwards". "We can accept losing things like home appliances, but memories", she said, her voice trailing off.
A local resident walks in a flooded area in Mabi town in Kurashiki, Okayama Prefecture, Japan, July 9, 2018.
Thousands of residents in western Japan continued to clear debris from the streets, as others searched for food and supplies in areas hit by deadly landslides and flooding. Pictures: AFP Photo / Martin Bureau.
The government has set up a disaster response task force, and Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will visit Ehime Prefecture on Friday.
He said at least 18 people were missing in Okayama alone, and that several thousand people were checking houses across the region. Officials said dozens of people were missing.
It's the worst weather-related disaster in the country since 2011, when almost 100 people were killed by two typhoons in August and September. Over 50,000 rescuers have been deployed to the area, where hundreds of people remain stranded. "The disaster happened so suddenly, I am struggling to come to terms with it", the school's principal said.
The government said it would tap around $20 million in reserve funds to provide aid to those affected by the disaster.