Officials in Shizuoka prefecture in Japan said two people were found without vital signs and approximately 20 others are still missing after mudslides hit several homes on Saturday.
NHK-World Japan reported:
The officials say the two were found in the sea off the city of Atami. They say the mudslides occurred at around 10:30 a.m. on a river in the city’s Izusan district, and the mud flowed about one kilometer down to the sea.
Firefighters, police, and Self-Defense Forces personnel are taking part in the search for the missing. Torrential rain has been lashing areas along Japan’s Pacific coast since early Saturday.
Officials issued an evacuation order for about 20,000 homes following the mudslides, and residents have been instructed to ensure their safety.
According to the Japan News, one resident told reporters she heard “sounds similar to bombing” when the incident happened, adding, “I still can’t stop shaking.”
The outlet shared a photo of the area during the mudslide:
— The Japan News (@The_Japan_News) July 3, 2021
“Meteorological Agency officials say the downpours are due to a lingering seasonal rain front. Shizuoka and Kanagawa prefectures are being hit the hardest,” the NHK report said.
Video footage showed the moment the mudslide swept through Atami, crashing into buildings as people ran for cover:
This is the moment a powerful mudslide swept away rows of houses in the town of Atami, west of Tokyo.
Japanese authorities say at least 19 people are missing.
— Sky News (@SkyNews) July 3, 2021
Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga spoke with Disaster Minister Yasufumi Tanahashi regarding the mudslide, and government officials created a task force at the prime minister’s office to gather information while heavy rains swept along the Pacific coast in central and eastern Japan, the Mainichi reported.
The outlet continued:
The Japan Meteorological Agency urged maximum caution and called on the public to be vigilant over mudslides, flooding and swollen rivers. In the 72-hour period through 11 a.m. Saturday, 790 millimeters of rainfall were recorded in Hakone, Kanagawa Prefecture, and over 550 mm were logged in Gotemba, Shizuoka Prefecture, the agency said.
The rain is reportedly forecast to move toward the Sea of Japan coast during the next few days, and large areas along the coast are expected to experience torrential rains through Monday.