Mudslides triggered by torrential rain surged through Atami in Japan's Shizuoka Prefecture on Saturday. Two were feared killed and 20 were missing as rescue workers searched for the victims. Photo by EPA-EFE/JIJI PRESS
July 3 (UPI) -- Two people were feared dead and 20 more remained unaccounted for Saturday after a mudslide triggered by torrential rains destroyed homes in central Japan, officials said.
Local authorities in Shizuoka prefecture southwest of Tokyo said two people found in the sea near the city of Atami did not exhibit any vital signs, national broadcaster NHK reported.
The others were deemed missing after more than 10 houses were swept away as a massive river of mud coursed down a hill and toward the Pacific Ocean, officials said.
Japanese military personnel, firefighters and police were taking part in search and rescue efforts.
The mudslide came at 10:30 a.m. local time after heavy rains began pounding Japan's Pacific coast earlier in the day.
Videos shown on Japanese television showed a mix of mud and black water crashing down from a mountain, inundating everything in its path.
About 200 homes were left without power.
Some 21,000 households in Atami remained under emergency evacuation orders due to high risk of sediment-related disasters, Mayor Sakae Saito told reporters.
As many as 300 households overall are affected by the mudslide, he said.
Authorities issued landslide warnings for parts of Shizuoka and Kanagawa prefectures and warned the rains could bring more landslides.