It’s a race against time: after a mudslide in a Japanese excursion destination, people are still missing. But persistent rain makes rescue missions difficult.
Tokyo – After a massive mudslide in Japan, prolonged rainfall makes finding missing people difficult. The fate of around 20 people remains uncertain, as the Japanese TV station NHK reported today.
As far as we know, at least two women were killed in the coastal town of Atami in Shizuoka Prefecture, known for its hot thermal baths, when heavy rains triggered the mudslide the day before. Around 1,000 rescue workers, including members of the military, continued the search for the missing on Sunday. But because of the constant light rain, they had to interrupt the operation in the morning (local time).
According to initial findings, ten houses were destroyed and at least 130 others damaged. According to the NHK, ten people were rescued from houses that had been trapped in the mud. Meanwhile, the clean-up continued today with heavy equipment. In view of the softened soil, the authorities also warned of further landslides and floods in other areas, especially since more rain is expected in the next few days.
According to experts, the mudslide in Atami had a speed of around 40 kilometers per hour. It stretched for about two kilometers and slid close to the coast. The dead were found near a port. According to eyewitnesses, the muddy earth and sand slid down the slope in several thrusts. They tore electricity pylons and cars with them, streets sank into mud, entire residential buildings collapsed like houses of cards. The authorities issued the highest warning level.
In the course of global warming, Japan is recording more and more heavy rainfall, which also leads to more and more landslides. In the past ten years, according to official information, an average of almost 1,500 landslides have occurred in the mountainous island kingdom – almost twice as many as in the previous ten years. dpa