Two people have died and 20 still missing on Sunday after torrential rains triggered a powerful landslide in Atami, a Japanese seaside resort town in Shizuoka Prefecture, south-west of Tokyo, according to local reports.
Japan’s military has dispatched emergency personnel to the city in search and rescue efforts, joining local firefighters and police. Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga has called together an emergency task force for the disaster.
The landslide, which reportedly struck around 10:30 a.m., appeared to have done so multiple times, about as fast as a car. Footage from public broadcaster NHK showed a powerful, black mudslide slide down a mountainside, knocking down and crushing houses and sweeping away cars in its way. It also showed a part of a bridge had collapsed.
The area that was hit by the landslide, Izusan, includes hot springs, residential areas, shopping streets and a famous shrine. Shizuoka prefecture spokesman Takamichi Sugiyama said that dozens of homes may have been buried.
Social media images showed partially submerged cars and rescue workers wading through waist-high water with a small life raft.
Evacuation warnings were issued for a widespread area surrounding the incident.
The rainfall in the 48-hour period prior to the disaster was 315 mm, which far exceeds the average monthly rainfall for July in Shizuoka (242.5 mm), noted The Asahi Shimbun, citing data from the Japan Meteorological Agency. The agency warned residents in surrounding areas to stay vigilant amid heavy rain and flooding, and potentially more landslides.
At least 30 locations in five prefectures, including Tokyo, have set new records in rainfall for a 48-hour period in July, noted The Japan Times.
Reuters and The Associated Press contributed to this report.
From The Epoch Times