Two people went missing Tuesday (July 14) morning after a mudslide hit an area in western Japan’s Hiroshima Prefecture, local authorities said.

Rescue workers are searching for a woman in her 80s and her son, in his 50s, in the city of Higashihiroshima after receiving an emergency call reporting the mudslide around 6 a.m., according to the city government.

A man inside the house hit by the mudslide responded to rescuers’ calling when they arrived at the scene, but his voice could no longer be heard after more mud poured inside, local officials said.

In neighboring Shimane Prefecture, heavy rain caused Gono River to overflow Tuesday morning, prompting authorities in the city of Gotsu and nearby towns to advise some 10,900 residents to evacuate, according to the land ministry’s local office.

It is thought downpours triggered the mudslide, with many parts of Hiroshima having seen this month’s rainfall levels already hit double the usual amount for the whole of July, according to the Japan Meteorological Agency.

Due to the influence of a seasonal rain front and a low-pressure system extending over the Sea of Japan, Hiroshima and Shimane prefectures saw up to around 150 to 200 millimeters of rainfall in 48 hours through Tuesday morning, the weather agency said.

It warned eastern Japan may also see heavy rain through Wednesday morning.

The nationwide death toll from July’s downpours has climbed to 72, with 68 fatalities in Kyushu, southwestern Japan’s biggest island.


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