20 People Swept Away in Mudslides in Central Japan; 2 Dead

Society Lifestyle

Atami, Shizuoka Pref., July 3 (Jiji Press)--A large-scale mudslide triggered by heavy rain hit the city of Atami, Shizuoka Prefecture, central Japan, on Saturday morning, sweeping away about 20 local residents.

Two women were found with no signs of life and confirmed dead later, according to the Shizuoka prefectural government and other sources. Meanwhile, 10 people who were seeking help from buildings were rescued, officials of the Atami city government said.

The mudslide occurred at a point along the Aizome River in the Izusan district of the city around 10:30 a.m. (1:30 a.m. GMT), with a large amount of dirt running about 2 kilometers toward the sea. Police officers, firefighters and others continued search and rescue operations.

The site of the mudslide is about 1.5 kilometers north of Atami Station. According to local fire authorities and others, at least more than 10 buildings may have been swept away in the mudslide, and many houses and other structures nearby may have suffered damage, as more mudslides are believed to have happened.

The Shizuoka prefectural government set up a disaster response headquarters. Japan's Ground Self-Defense Force sent about 200 troops to the affected areas at the request of the prefectural government.

[Copyright The Jiji Press, Ltd.]

Jiji Press