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Japan's Hiroshima hit by landslides, 63 dead and 25 missing

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Rescuers remove debris to search for missing people at the site of a landslide at a residential area in Hiroshima, western Japan, on August 26, 2014.

The death toll from the devastating landslides in western Japan has jumped to 63 with 25 others still missing as rescuers continue their efforts in combing through destroyed houses in search for survivors.

Local police authorities said three more people were confirmed dead in the disaster-hit city of Hiroshima, situated about 800 kilometers (497 miles) west of the capital Tokyo, on Tuesday.

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe visited Hiroshima on Monday and pledged full support for victims of last week’s massive landslides.

“The government wants to closely coordinate with the local authority. We will do our best to have victims return to normal life as soon as possible,” he told reporters.

Some 3,000 rescuers, including soldiers, are digging through mud and debris at the various sites on the outskirts of Hiroshima.

More than 1,600 people are also taking shelter in schools, town halls and other public buildings.

Heavy rain and torrential downpours triggered the August 20 landslides, which swallowed dozens of homes across Japan’s western areas.

Landslides are common in Japan’s populated mountainous areas, where there is frequent rainfall and many of the houses are built on or near steep slopes.

In October last year, multiple mudslides killed 35 people, four of whose bodies were never recovered, in the volcanic island of Izu Oshima. The slides followed a typhoon that dumped a record 824 millimeters of rain in a single day.

More than 30 people also died in 1999 when Hiroshima was struck by hundreds of landslides.


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