More than 70 people have died and hundreds remain missing as heavy rains continue to pound parts of Japan.

According to a local news media report, an evacuation order has already been issued for at least 4.72 million people affected by what is described as one of the heaviest rainfalls ever experienced by Japan in recent years. Among those affected are those residing in south-western main islands of Kyushu and Shikoku.

Typhoon Maria was classified as a super typhoon.

“The rescue efforts are a race against time,” adding that emergency workers were “doing their utmost” to locate the missing and rescue people trapped by rising floodwater,” said Japan Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

About 48,000 state forces, including the police and firefighters, have been deployed to do search and rescue operations. A disaster management official said rescue operations are being conducted “around the clock.” However, rescue operations have become rather difficult, with people storming Twitter for help.

“The kids could not climb up to the rooftop. My body temperature has lowered. Rescue us quickly. Help us,” an Okayama resident said in a tweet.

The Guardian reported that cars are “being swept way by floodwater and people taking refuge on the roofs of their inundated homes.”

“Anybody living near the river has got to be nervous because typhoon season is just really starting,” said a local resident in a report.

In various local media reports, photos of flood engulfing nearly an entire village may be seen, submerging homes up until its roof.

“My house was simply washed away and completely destroyed,” a Hiroshima resident was quoted as saying in a report.

In a report published by the BBC, more rains are expected in the coming days.  Risks of landslides, surges in rivers, and strong winds remain.