Hexbyte Glen Cove Japan searches for dozens missing in resort town mudslide thumbnail

Hexbyte Glen Cove Japan searches for dozens missing in resort town mudslide

Hexbyte Glen Cove

Rescuers continue a search operation at the site of a mudslide at Izusan in Atami, Shizuoka prefecture, southwest of Tokyo Monday, July 5, 2021. Credit: Kyodo News via AP

Rescue workers slogged through mud and debris Monday looking for dozens feared missing after a giant landslide ripped through a Japanese seaside resort town, killing at least three people.

Eighty people were still unaccounted for, according to Shizuoka prefectural disaster management official Takamichi Sugiyama. Officials were preparing to release their names, hoping to reach some who might not have been caught in the landslide.

Initially, 147 of those people were unreachable, but that number was revised downward after confirmed some had safely evacuated or were away when the disaster struck, it said.

The disaster is an added trial as authorities prepare for the Tokyo Olympics, due to start in less than three weeks, while Japan is still in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.

Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga told reporters that rescue workers, including police, self-defense troops, firefighters and coast guard personnel, are doing their utmost “to rescue those who may be buried under the mud and waiting for help as soon as possible.”

At least 20 were initially described as missing. Since Atami is a vacation city, many apartments and homes are unoccupied for long parts of the year, with their listed residents living in other places.

Rescuers continue a search operation at the site of a mudslide at Izusan in Atami, Shizuoka prefecture, southwest of Tokyo Monday, July 5, 2021. Credit: Kyodo News via AP

Others may be away visiting relatives or friends or not answering the phone, officials said. They hope to get in touch with more of those unaccounted for on Monday.

The landslide occurred Saturday after several days of heavy rains. Witnesses heard a giant roar as a small stream turned into a torrent, carrying black mud, trees, rocks and debris from buildings.

Bystanders were heard gasping in horror on cell phone videos taken as it happened.

Like many seaside and mountain towns in Japan, Atami is built on steep hillsides, its roads winding through bits of forest and heavy vegetation. With other parts of the country expecting heavy downpours in what is known as Japan’s , authorities elsewhere were also surveying hillsides. NHK carried a program Monday about risk factors and warning signs that might precede a landslide.

Three coast guard ships, and six military drones were backing up the hundreds of troops, firefighters and other toiling in the rain and fog in search of possible survivors.

Rescuers continue a search operation at the site of a mudslide at Izusan in Atami, Shizuoka prefecture, southwest of Tokyo Monday, July 5, 2021. Credit: Kyodo News via AP

The mudslide struck Atami’s Izusan neighborhood, known for its hot springs, a shrine and shopping streets. Atami, which has a population of 36,800, is about 100 kilometers (60 miles) southwest of Tokyo.

Naoto Date, an actor who happened to be visiting the Izusan area after a filming session, woke up to sirens in the neighborhood when he was in his house, which is next to his mother’s. Both of them were safe, but he made sure his mother walked to a nearby community center to evacuate, and he called all his friends and schoolmates and made sure they’d survived.

“I grew up here and my classmates and friends live here. I’m so sad to see my neighborhood where I used to play with my friends is now destroyed,” Date told The Associated Press in a video interview from his home in Atami.

Date said his friends all had safely evacuated and his mother moved to a hotel in a safer location. Date, who usually lives in Tokyo, said he was staying away from evacuation centers due to concern about the coronavirus.

Even though his house was located in a hazard area, he said he never imagined it would be hit by a disaster.

Rescuers continue a search operation at the site of a mudslide at Izusan in Atami, Shizuoka prefecture, southwest of Tokyo Monday, July 5, 2021. Credit: Kyodo News via AP

“I used to take it not so seriously and I regret that,” he said. He filmed scenes in his neighborhood with muddy water gushing down and rescuers wading through knee-deep mud.

He also went to the sea where toppled cars were floating with debris from destroyed homes. “Many people saw their homes and belongings and everything washed away. They won’t be able to return home, and it must require an unimaginable effort to recover.”

Three people had been found dead as of early Monday, Fire and Disaster Management Agency and local officials said. Twenty-three people stranded by the mudslide were rescued, including three who were injured.

Shizuoka’s governor, Heita Kawakatsu told a news conference Sunday that construction upstream may have been a factor in the mudslide. Citing a preliminary examination by drone, Kawakatsu said massive amounts of soil that had been heaped up in the construction area had all washed down.

Kawakatsu said he will investigate. Media reports said a planned housing development was abandoned after its operator ran into financial problems.

The Izusan area is one of 660,000 locations in the country identified as prone to mudslides on a hazard map issued by the government, but is not widely publicized and public awareness is low.

Early July near the end of a rainy season often is a time of deadly flooding and mudslides triggered by torrential rains, which many experts say are worsening due to global warming.

A year ago, flooding and mudslides triggered by heavy rain in Kumamoto and four other prefectures in the Kyushu region in southern Japan left nearly 80 people dead. In July 2018, hillsides in crowded residential areas in Hiroshima collapsed, leaving 20 dead. In 2017, mudslides and flooding in the Kyushu region killed 40.



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Japan searches for dozens missing in resort town mudslide (2021, July 5)
retrieved 6 July 2021
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Hexbyte Glen Cove Powerful Japan quake sets off landslide, minor injuries (Update) thumbnail

Hexbyte Glen Cove Powerful Japan quake sets off landslide, minor injuries (Update)

Hexbyte Glen Cove

A landslide caused by a strong earthquake covers a circuit course in Nihonmatsu city, Fukushima prefecture, northeastern Japan, Sunday, Feb. 14, 2021. The strong earthquake shook the quake-prone areas of Fukushima and Miyagi prefectures late Saturday, setting off landslides and causing power blackouts for thousands of people. (Hironori Asakawa/Kyodo News via AP)

Residents in northeastern Japan on Sunday cleaned up clutter and debris in stores and homes after a strong earthquake set off a landslide on a highway, damaged buildings and parts of bullet train lines and caused power blackouts for thousands of people.

The 7.3 magnitude temblor late Saturday shook the quake-prone areas of Fukushima and Miyagi prefectures that 10 years ago had been hit by a powerful earthquake that triggered a tsunami and a meltdown at a nuclear power plant.

More than 140 people suffered mostly minor injures, many of them by falling objects and cuts while stepping on broken glass. Three people were confirmed with serious injures but there were no reports of deaths, Chief Cabinet Secretary Katsunobu Kato said.

Tokyo Electric Power Co., the utility that runs the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant that was hit by the March 2011 disaster, said the water used to cool spent fuel rods near the reactors had spilled because of the shaking. But there were no radiation leaks or other irregularities, TEPCO said.

The quake did not cause a tsunami because the epicenter was deep at 55 kilometers (34 miles) beneath the ocean.

Noriko Kamaya, a Japan Meteorological Agency spokesperson, said in a news conference that the quake is considered to be an aftershock of the 9.1 magnitude quake in 2011.

Collapsed rocks block a road after a strong earthquake hit Soma city, Fukushima prefecture, northeastern Japan, Sunday, Feb. 14, 2021. The strong earthquake shook the quake-prone areas of Fukushima and Miyagi prefectures late Saturday, setting off landslides and causing power blackouts for thousands of people. (Yohei Nishimura/Kyodo News via AP)

Power had been restored by early Sunday, although some bullet train services were still halted. East Japan Railway Co. said the bullet train on the northern coast will be suspended through Monday due to damage to its facility.

TV footage and video shared on social media showed boxes, books and other items scattered on floors. In the northern Fukushima city of Soma, a roof at a Buddhist temple collapsed.

Workers were clearing up a major coastal highway connecting Tokyo and northern cities where a major landslide occurred. Several other roads were also blocked by rocks.

Saturday’s powerful rattling less than a month before the 10th anniversary of the 2011 triple disaster was a frightening reminder of the earlier tragedy for the residents in the region.

“It started with minor shaking, then suddenly became violent,” said Yuki Watanabe, a convenience store employee in the Fukushima town of Minamisoma, told the Asahi newspaper. “I was so frightened,” she said, adding it reminder her of the 2011 quake.

  • A portion of a highway is blocked by a landslide after an earthquake hit the city, in Soma, Fukushima prefecture, northeastern Japan, Sunday, Feb. 14, 2021. A strong earthquake hit off the coast of northeastern Japan late Saturday, shaking Fukushima, Miyagi and other areas, but there was no threat of a tsunami, officials said.(Hironori Asakawa/Kyodo News via AP)
  • A portion of a highway is blocked by a landslide after an earthquake hit the city, in Soma, Fukushima prefecture, northeastern Japan, Sunday, Feb. 14, 2021. A strong earthquake hit off the coast of northeastern Japan late Saturday, shaking Fukushima, Miyagi and other areas, but there was no threat of a tsunami, officials said.(Hironori Asakawa/Kyodo News via AP)
  • Evacuees shelter at a gym as an earthquake hit the area, in Soma, Fukushima prefecture, northeastern Japan, Sunday, Feb. 14, 2021. A strong earthquake hit off the coast of northeastern Japan late Saturday, shaking Fukushima, Miyagi and other areas, but there was no threat of a tsunami, officials said.(Kyodo News via AP)
  • A large boulder sits on a road after an earthquake hit the city, in Soma, Fukushima prefecture, northeastern Japan, Sunday, Feb. 14, 2021. A strong earthquake hit off the coast of northeastern Japan late Saturday, shaking Fukushima, Miyagi and other areas, but there was no threat of a tsunami, officials said.(Hironori Asakawa/Kyodo News via AP)
  • A landslide caused by a strong earthquake covers a circuit course in Nihonmatsu city, Fukushima prefecture, northeastern Japan, Sunday, Feb. 14, 2021. The strong earthquake shook the quake-prone areas of Fukushima and Miyagi prefectures late Saturday, setting off landslides and causing power blackouts for thousands of people. (Hironori Asakawa/Kyodo News via AP)
  • Heavy machinery work to remove a landslide blocking Joban Expressway after a strong earthquake hit Soma city, Fukushima prefecture, northeastern Japan, Sunday, Feb. 14, 2021. The strong earthquake shook the quake-prone areas of Fukushima and Miyagi prefectures late Saturday, setting off landslides and causing power blackouts for thousands of people. (Yusuke Ogata/Kyodo News via AP)

As she ran outside, she heard banging noise coming from behind the store as glass bottles from the shelves smashed against the floor.

Experts warned of more aftershocks. Many residents spent the night at evacuation centers, where tents were set up as part of coronavirus protection measures.

Yasutoshi Nishimura, the minister in charge of economic and fiscal policy, expressed sympathy for those who had suffered damage and injuries.

“The government will continue to do our utmost to respond,” he said.

Defense troops also were mobilized to provide water in some areas.



© 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

Citation:
Powerful Japan quake sets off landslide, minor injuries (Update) (2021, February 13)
retrieved 16 February 2021
from https://phys.org/news/2021-02-strong-earthquake-japan-northeastern-coast.html

This document is subject to copyright. Apart from any fair dealing for the purpose of private study or research, no
part may be reproduced without the written permission. The content is provided for information purposes only.

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