Death toll from mudslides in Hiroshima rises to 42

Posted at 08/23/14 10:25 AM

HIROSHIMA - The death toll from the deadly landslides in the city of Hiroshima rose to 42 on Saturday, with 43 still missing, as rescuers continued to remove mud and pick through rubble in search of any survivors three days after torrential rain triggered the mountainside disaster.

Volunteers from other parts of the country joined the rescue efforts undertaken by police officers, firefighters and self-defense forces personnel, trying to remove mud and debris hampering the operations in the northern part of the city.

The death toll was revised from 40 on Friday, while the number of those missing was reduced to 43 from 47. Police say more people could be unaccounted for, buried by mudslides and not yet reported missing.

At 16 school and other public facilities in affected districts, up to roughly 2,400 residents took shelter on Friday, mostly elderly people, with many of them showing signs of fatigue as the death toll rose.

The mudslides caused by heavy downpours between late Tuesday and early Wednesday buried and washed away houses and apartments in the Asaminami and Asakita wards in the city, trapping many who had remained in their homes.

Experts say the survival rate for people trapped without food or water in a disaster drops significantly after the first 72 hours, which passed early Saturday.