A powerful mudslide carrying a deluge of black water and debris crashed into rows of houses in Atami, a coastal town near Tokyo, following heavy rains on Saturday, leaving at least 20 people missing.
Dozens of homes may have been buried in Atami, a town known for hot springs, said Shizuoka prefecture spokesman Takamichi Sugiyama.
Devastating mud slide hits Atami, about an hour by train south of Tokyo. At least 20 people are missing. This has become an annual calamity across Japan as rains have increased over the past 20 years or so. https://t.co/foF2DmvbMv
— 🍺 寝瓶 🍺 (@Nevin_Thompson) July 3, 2021
Public broadcaster NHK gave the number of missing people at 20, but Sugiyama said the prefecture confirmed at least 19, although he said the number may grow.
Torrential rains have slammed parts of Japan starting earlier this week. Experts said dirt had been loosened, increasing landslide risks in a country filled with valleys and mountains.
— “crunchy” in japanese (@ZaccyMan) July 3, 2021
Sugiyama said it had been raining hard in the area all morning. Self-defense forces will join firefighters and police in the rescue operation, he added. Evacuation warnings were issued for a widespread area.
The landslides appeared to have struck multiple times, about as fast as a car. Footage showed a powerful, black mudslide slide down a mountainside, knocking down and crushing houses and sweeping away cars in its way. Helpless neighbors watched in horror, some recording on their phones.
Breaking: This mudslide hit Japan today.. pic.twitter.com/xsxTGHQw3a
— 𝘚𝘭𝘢𝘳𝘵𝘪𝘣𝘢𝘳𝘵𝘧𝘢𝘴𝘵 🌏🌎🌍 (@crk5) July 3, 2021
Atami is a quaint seaside resort area in Shizuoka prefecture, about 100 kilometers (60 miles) southwest of Tokyo. The area that was hit by the mudslide, Izusan, includes hot springs, residential areas, shopping streets and a famous shrine. [AP]
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