At Least 19 People Missing After Powerful Mudslide Hits Japan
Nineteen people are missing after a powerful mudslide swept through a seaside town south-west of Tokyo, Japan.
Disaster management officials say the mudslide happened on Saturday morning, July 3, in the town of Atami, which is known for its hot springs.
The mudslide occurred in the area called Isuzan after a period of torrential rain hit the Shizuoka prefecture, CNN reports.
Footage from the area showed a mass of mud and earth collide with buildings, completely burying some of them in Atami city. Onlookers were seen to be fleeing as the mud ploughed across the road.
Firefighters and police are now looking for the missing people.
Around 2.00pm local time, roughly 2,830 households were without power due to the mudslide. Dozens others are said to have been buried, as officials say the number of missing people could grow.
According to Prefectural disaster management official Takamichi Sugiyama, per Sky News, some residents of Izusan are said to have been evacuated.
Sugiyama said it had been raining hard in the area for some time. Experts said dirt and soil were loosened as a result of the rain, increasing the likelihood of mudslides in areas with valleys and mountains.
Evacuation warnings have been issued across the area.
Japan’s prime minister, Yoshihide Suga, has called for an emergency taskforce to respond to the crisis, ABC News reports, as local government has requested military assistance to help with its rescue operation.
In the 72-hour period before the mudslide, many areas in Japan marked the highest levels of rainfall for July; Atami experienced rainfall of 313mm in the 48 hours up to midnight on Saturday, far above July’s average of 242.5mm, Japan Times reports.
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