World

18 dead, 13 missing in Hiroshima landslide

PTI Tokyo | Updated on November 25, 2017

At least 18 people were killed and another 13 were still missing after a huge landslide engulfed homes in western Japan, the government said today.

Dozens of houses were buried when a wall of mud thundered down a hillside in Hiroshima overnight, television pictures showed, as rescuers scoured the scene for any signs of life.

“According to the National Police Department, the death toll has reached 18, while 13 others are unaccounted for,” an official at the disaster management office of the Cabinet Office said.

The number of dead rose rapidly from an initial toll of four, although emergency services said it was too early to tell exactly how many people had lost their lives.

“We haven’t assessed the full extent (of the disaster) yet,” said a spokesman for Hiroshima’s fire department.

Rescuers said the victims included a two-year-old child and a 77-year-old woman.

Another emergency services spokesman said several more people were missing, although the number was not yet confirmed.

There are “several spots where people are supposed to be buried alive, and we still don’t know how many people are missing”, he told AFP.

At least two reports said a 53-year-old rescue worker died during the operation when the hillside collapsed again.

It was not clear if this man’s death was included in the overall toll and there was no immediate confirmation of the reports.

Aerial footage showed several houses buried by sludge, their wooden frames splintered by the weight of the mud.

Torrents of brown water ran off mountains behind the homes and through the wrecked buildings, hampering rescuers’ efforts as they searched for anyone still trapped.

Emergency workers were seen climbing up to the second floor and roofs of half-collapsed houses — some of which were floating — in a bid to reach any survivors.

Pictures showed there had been at least five different landslides, some having uprooted trees and carried rocks down the hillside.

One man, gesturing to the mud-covered remains of a house, told NHK: “My house is over there, flattened.”

Pointing elsewhere, he said: “A leg was seen (sticking out of the mud) and they are trying to confirm if the person is alive. The first thing we have to do is to help that person.”

Japanese troops were deployed in response to a request from the local government.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe said there would be a sizeable response.

“I have ordered (government officials) to carry out the rescue operation in an integrated manner, aware of the possibility of further rain,” he told reporters.

Published on August 20, 2014

Follow us on Telegram, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube and Linkedin. You can also download our Android App or IOS App.

null
This article is closed for comments.
Please Email the Editor

You May Also Like