Record breaking rainfall causes deadly Hiroshima landslides, Japan

hiroshima-landslide-august-2014-record-breaking-rainfall

Record breaking rainfall caused flooding and deadly landslides in the Hiroshima city early Wednesday, August 20, 2014. According to latest reports [21:00 UTC today], 39 people were confirmed dead and 7 were still missing.

Hiroshi Ikeya, a landslide expert at the National Graduate Institute for Policy Studies, told NHK that Hiroshima's geology, consisting of highly water-retentive soil, makes the city particularly prone to such disasters.

"The damage was extensive because of intense rain, extremely fragile slopes and the disaster hitting in the dead of night. Mudslides, floodwater, broken trees and debris flowed down the hill, smashing into houses."

JMA said that about 240 mm (9 inches) of rain fell in the area in the 24 hours up to Wednesday morning local time. This is a record-breaking level equivalent to a month's worth of rain in a usual August. Roughly half of that rain fell in one hour on Wednesday.

Video courtesy WestPacWx

Damage from land and mudslides has increased nationwide over the past few decades due to more frequent heavy rains, despite extensive work to stabilize slopes. In the past decade there have been nearly 1 200 landslides a year, according to the land ministry, up from an average of about 770 a year in the previous decade.  (ABC)

Heavy rain is still hindering rescue efforts and will continue to do so.

Authorities issued warnings that additional rain could trigger more landslides and flooding.

Longwave IR image acquired August 20, 2014 @ 19:32 UTC. MTSAT-2 McIDAS

​After heavy rains in 1999 Hiroshima was hit by hundreds of landslides, 31 people died.

Featured image: NHK

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