Two dead and a score of missing in Japan due to landslide after heavy rains

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Two people have died and about 20 are missing due to a landslide that buried several homes in central Japan after days of heavy rains, local authorities said.

“Due to the action of torrential rains, the terrain gave way and the avalanche jumped (…) As it passed, it swept away houses and inhabitants” and cut off a national highway, Shizuoka department governor Heita Kawakatsu told reporters.

“Two people are in a state of cardiorespiratory arrest”, an expression used in the country before the death is confirmed by a doctor, and another twenty are still missing due to this landslide that occurred around 10:30 local time (01:30 GMT), said the governor.

According to television images, a torrent of mud washed away some houses and buried others in the coastal city of Atami (southwest of Tokyo), where the inhabitants fled trying to get to safety.

“I heard a terrible noise, and saw an avalanche of mud descend, while some workers urged people to evacuate. I also ran to get to safety at height,” a witness told the NHK public network.

“When I returned, houses and cars had disappeared (…),” he added.

– “Maximum alert level” –

Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga announced that the Japanese emergency services and self-defense forces (the army’s official name, ndlr) had started rescue and evacuation operations, warning that even more torrential rains are expected.

“We have to maintain a maximum alert level,” he declared after an emergency meeting.

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