Dozens still missing after Atami mudslides Dozens still missing after Atami mudslides
Backstories

Dozens still missing after Atami mudslides

    NHK World
    Correspondent
    Four people have been confirmed dead following huge mudslides that swept away at least 130 homes and buildings in the city of Atami, Shizuoka Prefecture. Authorities say 80 remain unaccounted for. The disaster on Saturday was triggered by torrential rains along much of Japan's Pacific coast.

    Weather officials are warning that the danger is not over. They say even a small amount of rain could cause more landslides. Those who live on slopes and near rivers are advised to stay safe.

    The mudslides travelled nearly two kilometers through Atami, reaching a height of about two meters in some places. Authorities say 215 people are registered as living in the worst-hit area, and they have determined the whereabouts of 135 of them.

    A month's rain in three days

    One man told NHK he knew there had been a mudslide after hearing an "unimaginable sound." Another resident, who participated in the rescue operation as part of the fire brigade, recalls seeing many old wooden houses being destroyed as he evacuated.

    Footage of the destruction was shared widely on social media. One evacuee likened the mudslide to a tsunami.
    Watch Video 00:24

    In the three days through Saturday evening, the coastal city saw more rainfall than it gets on average for the entire month of July. Police, firefighters and the Self-Defense Forces are participating in the search and rescue effort. But intermittent rain on Sunday triggered smaller landslides and interrupted the rescue work.

    alt
    More rainfall has hindered the ongoing search and rescue operation.

    Massive volumes of soil displaced

    A drone survey revealed that a mountainous area measuring about 100 meters across collapsed. Officials say as much as 100,000 cubic meters of land may have been displaced. At least half of it could be soil that was being stored there for a development project. Shizuoka Governor Kawakatsu Heita told reporters he has received an interim report indicating the mudslides originated there.

    Watch Video 02:13