THE death toll in western Japan has risen to more than 200 after severe flooding and landslides hit last week, as thousands of others struggle to secure basic supplies.

The disastrously heavy rainfall caused damage over huge swathes of land, with most of the casualties in and around Hiroshima.

More than 7000 people are still in evacuation shelters as after power outages, water shortages and damage to transport disrupted deliveries of relief supplies.

Water shortages were even affecting some of the evacuation centres, which are usually priority destinations for aid.

Floodwaters have subsided in most places but left behind broken trees, furniture and mangled cars.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, at a disaster response meeting, recalled seeing “horrendous” damage during his visit to Kurashiki city, where a river broke through its embankment and flooded the area.

“After seeing that, I even feel more strongly about doing whatever it takes so that the people who were affected could live safely again as soon as possible.”

More than 700 houses were destroyed or damaged and more than 23,000 were flooded, according to the Fire and Disaster Management Agency.

Chief cabinet secretary Yoshihide Suga said 200 people had been confirmed dead while 21 people are missing. Around 40 others are still thought to be out of contact with their families.