At least 36 people were killed in Japan on Wednesday as landslides triggered by torrential rain swept through the outskirts of the western city of Hiroshima, Reuters reported.
Seven people were missing after a month’s worth of rain fell overnight, loosening slopes already saturated by heavy rain over the past few weeks, according to the news agency.
“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 were deployed to transport survivors, while rescue workers searched through mud and piles of stones in residential areas about 5 kilometers from the city center.
“The rain was just pouring down and the street in front of my house turned into a river,” a man in his 70s told national television NHK.
Hiroshima city authorities issued an evacuation advisory notice about an hour after the first landslide on Wednesday.
“Something went wrong in our analysis [of the situation] … We failed to issue an evacuation advisory ahead of the disaster. Looking back, I believe this is something we need to amend,” an official at the local fire department was quoted as saying.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe cut short his summer vacation to head back to Tokyo. He said he would dispatch several hundred military personnel to help with rescue efforts. By Wednesday evening, about 500 such troops had been sent in, the report said.
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