A Massive Mudslide West Of Tokyo Has Claimed The Lives Of At Least 19 People

TOKYO — Following heavy rains on Saturday, a massive mudslide carrying a torrent of black water and debris smashed through rows of buildings in a village west of Tokyo, leaving at least 19 people missing, officials said.

According to an official with the Fire and Disaster Management Agency, up to 80 homes in Atami were totally buried.

More individuals, maybe 100, may still be missing due to the mudslides, according to the official, who cautioned that information was not immediately available. The official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity as is customary in Japanese bureaucracies, stated that vigorous rescue efforts were underway to locate survivors.

The number of missing persons was previously reported to be 20, but Shizuoka prefecture spokesperson Takamichi Sugiyama stated the prefecture verified at least 19, however, he added that the number may rise.

Parts of Japan have been hit by torrential rainfall since earlier this week. Experts say the loosening of the earth has increased the risk of landslides in this nation of valleys and mountains.

The landslides appeared to strike many times, each around the speed of a vehicle. A strong, black mudslide slithering down a hillside, smashing down and destroying buildings as well as washing away automobiles in its route, was seen on video. Helpless neighbors stood by in awe, some recording the incident on their phones.

A section of a bridge has fallen, according to NHK TV video.

The Coast Guard recovered two persons washed into the sea by a mudslide, Shizuoka Governor Heita Kawakatsu informed reporters. Their hearts had stopped beating, but their deaths had not yet been announced, he explained. Other information about their identities was withheld.

“I extend my heartfelt sympathies to everyone who has been harmed,” he added, adding that every effort will be made to save lives.

It had been pouring heavily in the area all morning, according to Kawakatsu and other officials. According to them, self-defense forces have joined firemen and police in the rescue mission, as have officials from the national administration.

lgnews-Massive-MudslidePrime Minister Yoshihide Suga convened an emergency meeting of his Cabinet, instructing the task force to continue rescue efforts while preventing future tragedies.

More than 35,000 individuals were affected by evacuation advisories, including the so-called “Level 5,” which is the highest level of alert.

Atami is a small coastal resort town in Shizuoka Prefecture, about 60 miles southwest of Tokyo. Izusan, the mudslide-affected area, is home to hot springs, residential areas, retail districts, and a well-known temple.

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