TOKYO: A week after huge landslides swamped the Japanese city of Hiroshima, the confirmed death toll from the tragedy hit 70, with 18 people still missing.
Few hopes remain for those unaccounted for, although the fluctuating number has left confusion as to the likely final cost in human lives.
More than a month’s rain fell in just three hours last Wednesday, triggering devastating mudslides.
Dozens of homes were buried or carried away when tons of earth, rocks and debris smashed into settlements at a reported 40kph.
At its height, the recovery operation involved more than 3,000 police, firefighters and soldiers.
One of their number – a 53-year-old rescuer – was swept to his death during the first frantic efforts, when a second landslide crashed through the area where he was working.
He had a three-year-old boy in his arms at the time.
Their lifeless bodies were recovered hours later. — AFP