TOKYO, July 13 (Xinhua) — Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe visited the deluge-hit prefecture of Kumamoto in southwestern Japan on Monday to assess the devastation and offer the central government’s support to local municipalities.
After arriving at Kagoshima Airport on an Air Self-Defense Force (SDF) transport plane, the Japanese leader visited a nursing home where 14 residents were killed after the Kuma River breached its banks.
He offered prayers for the victims in front of the Senjuen nursing home.
Abe also met with Kumamoto Gov. Ikuo Kabashima at Kuma village’s temporary disaster task-force office.
Kumamoto has seen 64 lives lost in the disaster, with 14 other prefectures also being inundated amid torrential rain which led to 105 rivers flooding, while 27 prefectures saw 316 landslides.
The Japanese leader responded to Kabashima’s request for financial support for the crisis-hit region, pledging the central government’s all-out efforts.
“Under the policy of doing all we can, we will make utmost efforts to achieve early recovery,” Abe told Kabashima, according to local reports.
He added that work world be carried out swiftly to repair highways and the flood damage caused by overflowing Kuma River.
Abe also pledged the government’s support for those displaced by the disaster, saying that temporary shelter for evacuees would be secured and more officials sent to the region to help its recovery.
Abe said the central government will allocate 400 billion yen (3.74 billion U.S. dollars) to be used for reconstruction and support small businesses in their recovery efforts from the disaster.
In Tokyo later in the day, Abe, at a task-force meeting convened to respond to the disaster, told relevant officials to put together a rescue package.
He said the package should be compiled by the end of the month and the Cabinet would officially decide on drawing on reserve funds to help finance it.
LINK ORIGINAL: Xinhuanet