Disasters & Accidents

At least 4 dead, 80 missing after Japan mudslide

(Update 1: upgrades death toll, revises number of missing down)

Tokyo, Jul 5 (EFE).- Japanese authorities in Atami said four people died and 80 were missing after a mudslide caused by torrential rains swept through part of the municipality last weekend.

Rescue services on Monday said two bodies had been recovered, adding the two victims confirmed on Saturday when the large mudslide hit the mountainous region, damaging at least 130 buildings, some of which were completely destroyed.

Authorities said 80 people remained unaccounted for.

Atami authorities base their missing persons figures on the current resident registry, which is why they said it is difficult to determine the actual number of missing people, as some may have moved out of the area without notifying them prior to the incident.

Some 1,500 people participated Monday in search and rescue efforts, including police officers, members of the army, firefighters and the coast guard, Japanese government Spokesman Katsunobu Kato said Monday.

Atami, located in Shizuoka prefecture, has been one of the towns most affected by the torrential rains that hit the Japanese archipelago last weekend during the ongoing summer rainy season.

Japan’s meteorological agency called for caution in rescue work due to the risk of sediment-related disasters and said it expects rains to continue Monday in some areas, which could make such work difficult.

The government has held a crisis cabinet meeting since the day of the incident and assessed whether the crisis “could be more serious” than initially expected and in which they will continue to analyze the evolution of the situation, Kato said. EFE


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