Hiroshima landslide death toll rises to 49; 41 missing

Picture expired. Rescue workers search for victims in the mud on Saturday, 2014, three days after a landslide hit a residential area in Hiroshima. AFP

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  • 2

    M3M3M3

    Really tragic story. I hope those who survived will be able to rebuild their lives. Most standard insurance policies don't cover mudslides.

  • 4

    Educator60

    38 of the 46 bodies have been identified. In case anyone is looking for information about anyone, NHK online has been publishing names, ages, occupations as they become known:

    http://www3.nhk.or.jp/news/html/20140823/t10014022951000.html

    It is possible that some of the 41 missing are among the unidentified bodies. Or there may still be more missing than known at thus time. Among the missing are a young married couple expecting their first baby in Nov. So sad.

  • 2

    Elbuda Mexicano

    This a very sad, tragic, terrible thing to happen. Since about 2/3 of Japan's land is mountains, and with such a large population, crowed into any areas that DO NOT HAVE MOUNTAINS, sadly will always leaves those who end up living near or next these mountains that are very beautiful but in bad weather, we can see what MOTHER NATURE can do to us, even in the land of HIGH TECH, even the the HIGHEST TECHNOLOGY, is NO MATCH against the FURY of MOTHER NATURE!!! RIP

  • -1

    CGB Spender

    It must be extremely frustrating to have relatives or friends caught under the debris and then not being able to do anything for several days. I know I couldn't just stand there and watch, no matter how difficult it would be to try to rescue them. These survivors will have to live the rest of their life with enormous guilt and regret.

  • 2

    Educator60

    Death toll up to 49 now and 41 thought to be missing. Today was Saturday so many volunteers gathered to help residents dig the mud out their homes, help salvage belongings etc.

  • 0

    Freddie Krug

    In many 3rd world and developing countries this is blamed on poor land management on the environment, forest and underground water source. It is said to be lack of trees and good drainage.

  • 0

    Educator60

    @ Freddie Krug "In many 3rd world and developing countries this is blamed on poor land management on the environment, forest and underground water source. It is said to be lack of trees and good drainage."

    Many decades ago big mistakes were made in building in these areas without proper protection. Here and in many other places around the country, slow progress is being made in declaring areas to be special districts at high risk. This allows for more special public works projects to help prevent slides, regulations about construction of new buildings, etc. But the assessments, and getting the agreement of residents who often oppose these designations because it means a drop in their property value/more difficulties in selling and higher costs when rebuilding homes, takes a log if personnel, time, and tax money. And even then it doesn't mean perfect protection from danger. I saw on TV one area. A young couple who built a home on the parental property live in an expensive, heavily reinforced home with thick concrete walls on the mountain side. But the parents are still living next door in a flimsy 50 year old wood frame house.

    The soil on these mountains is まそ土 masodo, decomposed granite, very prone to slides. It is originally a hard rock but decomposes over time into a sandlike soil.

    However a LACK of trees is not a problem here. Look at the arial views of the disaster area. The only bare places are vertical mud colored streaks where all the trees came down along with the boulders, soil, and water. The rescue work has been made more difficult by the jumbled tangled masses of long tree trunks and branches mixed in with the other debris. I believe there is a problem with the type of trees but currently there is no lack of trees.

  • 1

    Balefire

    @Educator60 thanks for the informative post. That's what numerous geologists and civil engineers have been saying in TV interviews, too. It's a pity that the known risks--by no means limited only to this area, BTW--were ignored when the development of the area was done.

    Even with soil less prone to sliding off hills, it's not a great idea to build houses on alluvial fans.

  • 0

    Educator60

    Correction: "takes a log if personnel", should be takes a lot of personnel, "

    Balefire, Yes it's a problem all over the country. Suddenly the news is full of articles and maps showing which prefectures are ahead and behind in designating the danger zones, etc. It seems to me that every year in memory there have been lives lost to landslides often? usually? in connection with typhoons. But somehow the one that killed many on Izu Oshima in the spring and this one in Hiroshima seem to have triggered more discussion. I hope it results in some improvements.

    Of course looking at the bigger picture things are still better off than in countries where not dozens, but thousands, die in floods etc.

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