More than three dozen dead after landslide in Hiroshima

World Today

Rescue workers look for survivors at the site of a landslide after heavy rains hit the city of Hiroshima

At least 39 people including several children were killed in Japan Aug. 20 when a torrent of mud, rock, and debris fell on the outskirts of Hiroshima.

The landslide happened after about 240 mm (9 inches) of rain fell overnight causing rocks and other debris to slip lose of the slopes about 5 kilometers (3 miles) from the city center. The Meteorological Agency said that level of rainfall is equivalent to a month’s worth of rain in a usual August, and half of that rain fell in one hour on Wednesday.

Hiroshima prefectural police said 36 people were confirmed dead and at least seven other were missing as of Wednesday night. The Fire and Disaster Management Agency said 15 people were injured.

“A few people were washed away and it is hard to know exactly how many are unaccounted for,” said Nakatoshi Okamoto, a local government official.

The force of the landslide crumbled asphalt roads, while streams of mud tore through neighborhoods, turning houses into piles of twisted wreckage as boulders up to 3 feet wide lay scattered around.

Authorities issued warnings that additional rain could trigger more landslides and flooding. Landslides killed 31 people in Hiroshima in 1999, including six in the same area hit this time.

Report compiled with information from Reuters and Associated Press