Houses were damaged by landslides after heavy rains in the Izusan district of Atami, west of Tokyo, on Saturday July 3, 2021. A powerful mudslide with a deluge of black water and debris crashed into rows of houses in a city west of Tokyo after heavy rains. on Saturday, leaving several people missing, authorities said. (AP)
Ten people were rescued and up to 80 houses were buried in Atami, where hundreds of firefighters, military troops and three coast guard boats worked since dawn Saturday to try to reach those believed to have been trapped or swept away by the landslide.
The deluge crashed down a mountainside into rows of houses after heavy rains that began several days ago. Passersby, with their audible gasps of horror, captured the scene on cell phone video. Witnesses said they heard a giant roar and then watched helplessly as houses were swallowed up by the muddy waves.
The two confirmed dead people, both women, had been washed out to sea and were found by the coast guard, said Tatsushi Ueda, a Shizuoka prefectural official in charge of disaster prevention.
Of the 10 who were rescued, one suffered minor injuries. In Atami, 121 people were evacuated, Ueda said.
Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga has created a task force for the rescue effort.
Atami is a picturesque seaside resort in Shizuoka Prefecture, about 100 kilometers (60 miles) southwest of Tokyo. The area that was hit by the landslide, Izusan, includes hot springs, residential areas, shopping streets, and a famous sanctuary.