Rescue efforts sprang into high gear in Hiroshima, Japan, today after a series of landslides buried people in their homes as they slept. In the past few minutes The Weather Channel has confirmed 18 are now dead, including a firefighter working to rescue others. Still more are missing.
The landslides happened in the city’s Asaminami and Asakita wards between 3:20 and 4 a.m. local time Wednesday. At least eight people have been confirmed dead, according to public broadcaster NHK, citing local police sources. Among the dead are a 77-year-old woman and a 2-year-old boy. At least 13 people are missing, NHK said.
A firefighter with the Hiroshima Fire Department died when sediment buried him while he tried to rescue victims, according to another NHK report.
The broadcast organization also pinpointed at least 20 locations in Hiroshima city where people were stranded or trapped.
At least 3 landslides struck the city, burying at least 12 people alive, according to Fuji TV. The Asahi Shimbun, one of Japan’s leading newspapers, says an 11-year-old boy and a 2-year-old boy were in their home in the Yagi residential district when the mud slammed into it. Both children were pulled from the muck in a state of cardiac arrest; the 2-year-old later died.
Several of the city’s hilly northern neighborhoods have been evacuated, according to the website of Hiroshima’s city government. Schools were opened as shelters.
The Japan Meteorological Agency recorded 205mm of rain in three hours in Asakita Ward, more than doubling the previous all-time 3-hour rainfall record at that site. Nearly 100mm fell in one hour and over 230mm in 24 hours, also the largest such rainfall amounts since records began for that location in 1976.
– The Weather Channel