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Japan landslide toll rises to 15

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Asia

Japan Mudslide
A mudslide area following heavy rains is seen in Atami, Shizuoka Prefecture, west of Tokyo on Jul 5, 2021. (AP Photo/Eugene Hoshiko)

(Updated: )

TOKYO: The death toll in a landslide that hit the Japanese resort town of Atami has risen to 15, a local official said on Sunday (Jul 18), as hundreds of rescuers continued the search for more than a dozen missing residents.

“Two more people were confirmed dead during the weekend, with the number of victims now totalling 15,” disaster-management spokesman Yuta Hara told AFP.

Fourteen people remain unaccounted for, the official said.

Dozens of homes were swept away when a landslide descended on the resort town in several violent waves on Jul 3.

It came after days of intense downpours in and around Atami, which lies about 90km southwest of Tokyo.

READ: Rescuers struggle to locate dozens in landslide-hit Japan town

Japan was in its rainy season when the floods struck, with many parts of the country vulnerable to landslides because homes are built on slopes where the ground can loosen and collapse suddenly after heavy downpours.

Scientists say climate change is also intensifying the country’s rainy seasons because a warmer atmosphere holds more water.

Rescue and recovery efforts involving about 1,300 police officers, firefighters, soldiers and coastguard members were continuing, the spokesman said.

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