At least three people are dead, and around 80 are still missing, after the Japanese town of Atami was hit by a massive mudslide.
Brought on by heavy rain, the mudslide crashed through a residential area on Saturday morning.
During a 72-hour period, Atami received around 170% of the area’s average rainfall for the entire month of July.
Search and rescue efforts are ongoing, and even though Atami is a vacation city, meaning many apartments and homes are unoccupied for long parts of the year, authorities fear the death toll could still rise.
Atami is near Mount Fuji, about two hours southwest of Tokyo.
The New York Times reports:
The authorities…had warned residents to protect themselves against the deluge, though they had not ordered a broad evacuation. Officials have continued to keep the area on high alert, as more heavy rain is forecast this week.
Startling footage of the destruction showed a torrent of liquid earth pouring through the town’s streets and knocking cars away like toys as terrified people scrambled for safety. Whole sections of broken buildings floated on the fast-moving wave.
In this widely shared footage, a car manages to drive off just before a mudslide sweeps through the streets:
A car can be seen driving away moments before a mudslide hits the town of Atami, west of Tokyo.
— Sky News (@SkyNews) July 4, 2021
Additional footage was shared by CBS News, with reports that the vehicle above may have eventually been caught by the mudslide:
That must be utterly terrifying to witness.
Climate change has led to increased rainfall across much of Japan, resulting in a number of devastating floods in recent years.
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