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Japan PM Shinzo Abe visits flood-hit region, pledges financial support

Japanese PM Shinzo Abe

Tokyo, July 14 (UITV/IANS)- Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe visited the flood-hit Kumamoto prefecture to assess the devastation and pledged the central government's support to local municipalities.

After arriving at Kagoshima Airport on an Air Self-Defense Force (SDF) transport plane on Monday, Abe visited a nursing home where 14 residents were killed after the Kuma River breached its banks, reports Xinhua news agency.

Abe also met Kumamoto Governor Ikuo Kabashima.

At least 64 people were killed in Kumamoto, with 14 other prefectures also being inundated amid torrential rain which led to 105 rivers flooding, while 27 prefectures saw 316 landslides.

Abe 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 the 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 ($ billion) 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.