Mud landslide in Japan: Seven dead, 27 missing

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Seven are dead and 27 are missing from huge mud landslide in the coastal city of Atami, in central Japan.

According to the APE-MPE, this is the latest, temporary report of the local authorities, while at the same time the hopes for survivors are fading.

The number of missing people exceeded 100 on Monday, but many of these people were found alive. The municipality of Atami has difficulty compiling a reliable list of potential victims of the disaster because many of the homes destroyed are being used as holiday homes. Also, some elderly owners live elsewhere or in special care centers.

The crucial “window” of 72 hours after the disaster, during which experts hold out hope of finding survivors, closed this morning. “As time goes on, it becomes more difficult to save people, but we will continue the search,” said Takamichi Sugiyama, a spokesman for Atami Shizuoka Prefecture.

The mayor of the city, Sakae Saito, said that he “prays to find as many people as possible”.

One of the victims was 82-year-old Siyoshe Suzuki, who died at the hospital where she was taken on Monday. Her eldest son, Hitoshi, 56, said he was devastated at Kyodo because he did not take her with him when police asked them to evacuate the house. “I should have come back and taken her out myself,” he said.

The landslide occurred on Saturday, after many days of rain in Atami, a city built on a mountain slope, about a hundred kilometers from Tokyo. Tons of mud swept the electric poles, vehicles and destroyed 130 buildings in whole or in part. Helicopter footage today shows a river of mud and debris about two kilometers to the sea. About 1,100 rescuers are trying to clear a road between the rubble early this morning.

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