Local residents wait for rescue operation atop of collapsed
houses as rescue workers stand by next to them, after a
massive landslide swept through a residential area at
Asaminami ward in Hiroshima, western Japan. Photo from
At least eight people have been killed in Japan when
landslides touched off by torrential rain slammed into the
outskirts of the city of Hiroshima.
At least 13 people were also missing after a month's worth of
rain fell overnight, loosening slopes already saturated by
heavy rain over the past few weeks.
"There was rain and thunder all night, beating down so hard I
was scared to go outside," a resident told Fuji TV. "Great
big drops. I've never seen anything like this."
Helicopters clattered overhead as rescue workers searched
through mud and piles of stones in residential areas about 5
km (3 miles) from the centre of the city.
Among those dug out of the debris was a two-year-old boy who
was not breathing but it was not clear if he had been killed,
With land in short supply in many parts of Japan, cities
often expand into mountainous areas, leaving such development
vulnerable to landslides.
About 240 mm (9 inches) of rain fell in the area in the 24
hours up to Wednesday morning, record-breaking levels
equivalent to a month's worth of rain in a usual August,
Japan's Meteorological Agency said.
Asphalt roads crumbled under the force of one landslide,
while streams of mud cut swathes through neighbourhoods,
turning houses into piles of twisted wreckage.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe cut short his summer vacation to
head back to Tokyo as authorities asked for help from the
military for rescue efforts.