At least six people were confirmed dead and 22 were missing after rain-sodden hills in the outskirts of Hiroshima gave way early on Wednesday in several landslides, according to Japan`s Fire and Disaster Management Agency (FDMA). The FDMA, citing the local government, also said at least 20 people were injured, one seriously.
National broadcaster NHK, citing local police, put the death toll at 18. Video footage broadcast by another Japanese TV station, TBS, showed rescue workers searching through damaged buildings and residents struggling to navigate flooded streets. Authorities issued warnings that further rains could trigger more landslides and flooding.
Landslides are a constant risk in mountainous, crowded Japan, where many homes are built on or near steep slopes.
A local resident said, "I woke up in the middle of the night and the corridor to the living room of my house was already flooded. I heard the sound of water coming in, and then the water from the river rushed into my house, so I just took the car and rushed out of the house."
ABC News quoted a local official sayig, "A few people were washed away and it is hard to know exactly how many are unaccounted for," who also noted that the conditions in the disaster area were hindering efforts to account for all those affected.