Belfast Telegraph

Tuesday 16 September 2014

Search risk after Japan landslides

Members of Japan's Self-Defense Force search for survivors in the rubble of a mud-hit residential area following a massive landslide in Hiroshima (AP/Kyodo News)

Heavy rains forecast in western Japan are raising the risk of more landslides and hindering efforts to locate dozens of people still missing after several hills in Hiroshima collapsed.

Some 40 people are confirmed dead and 47 still unaccounted for, the Fire and Disaster Management Agency said.

Torrents of mud, rocks and timber swept through at least five valleys in Hiroshima's suburbs after heavy rains on Wednesday, smashing dozens of houses. The agency said 67 people were injured.

About 2,800 police and military personnel have been searching for the victims.

The disaster has prompted questions over why so many houses were built near unstable slopes and why an evacuation order came an hour after the first mudslide.

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