After a landslide hit Atami Town, rescuers were looking for survivors. Two people died and 20 people are still missing.
On Sunday, a Japanese resort town was hit by a deadly landslide. Rescuers were looking for survivors. They climbed over the cracked roof and checked cars that were thrown onto the engulfed building as more rain hit the area.
A local government official said that after the disaster at the Atami Hot Spring Resort in central Japan on Saturday, two people have been confirmed dead, another 10 people have been rescued, and about 20 people are still missing.
A landslide caused by heavy rain for several days struck on Saturday morning, sweeping houses on the hillside and turning residential areas into quagmire that stretches to the nearby coast.
Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga told the ministers at the emergency meeting: “The number of damaged houses and buildings may be as many as 130. I express my condolences for the loss of life.”
“This rainy season front is expected to continue to cause heavy rains in many areas. People are worried that even if the rain stops, land disasters will occur,” he warned.
An official from Shizuoka County told AFP that about 1,000 rescuers, including 140 military personnel, participated in the rescue work.
He added: “Since it is still raining, we are doing our best to find survivors as quickly as possible while acting very carefully.”
According to Kyodo News, Atami Mayor Saito Ei told rescuers to do their best to search and rescue, saying on Sunday that “the next 72 hours are crucial.”
More landslide concerns
According to public broadcaster NHK, Atami, about 90 kilometers (55 miles) southwest of Tokyo, had 313 mm of rainfall in just 48 hours as of Saturday, which was higher than the July average monthly rainfall of 242.5 mm.
Most areas of Japan are currently in the annual rainy season, which lasts for several weeks, often causing floods and landslides.
Scientists say that climate change is exacerbating this phenomenon because the warmer atmosphere contains more water, leading to greater rainfall.
It is expected that there will be more downpours on the main island of Japan in the coming days.
“Even if the rain stops, landslides may happen again and again in the same place. Residents and rescuers should be vigilant,” Moriwaki Takeo, professor of geotechnical engineering at Hiroshima Institute of Technology, told AFP.
NHK said on Sunday that at least seven other landslides have been reported across Japan.
After the Atami disaster with 20,000 households, the highest-level evacuation alert was issued, urging people to “urgently ensure safety.”
According to media reports, about 387 survivors took refuge in the evacuation center. Because of fear of contracting the coronavirus, people wearing masks kept their distance from other families.
Residents of many other cities in Shizuoka Prefecture were also ordered to evacuate.