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Deadly landslide in Hiroshima

August 20, 2014

More than a dozen people have been killed in Japan after unseasonable flooding unleashed a deadly landslide. Japan’s prime minister plans to send several hundred military personnel to the area for disaster relief.

Erdrutsch in Hiroschima, Japan
Image: REUTERS/Kyodo

A landslide swept through the outskirts of the western Japanese city of Hiroshima on Wednesday, killing at least 36 people. Seven people remain missing.

Heavy rains had fallen in the area overnight. According to Japanese media, roughly 240 millimeters (9 inches), or the equivalent to the average rain fall for August, had fallen within 24 hours.

"We haven't assessed the full extent [of the disaster] yet," a Hiroshima fire department spokesperson said, according to news agency AFP.

Helicopters and rescue workers continued to dig through mud and stones on Wednesday where they believed more people to be trapped.

Japanese media reported that a two-year-old boy and his 11-year-old brother had been killed when the landslide swept over their home. Authorities reportedly also confirmed the deaths of a 77-year-old woman and a rescue worker who had responded to the scene.

Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who cut short his vacation to return to Tokyo on Wednesday, told reporters that several hundred military personnel would be deployed to the area.

The region remains under a heavy rain and flood advisory.

kms/se (AFP, Reuters, dpa)