Japan Landslide Death Toll Rises to 15

The death toll in a landslide that hit the Japanese resort town of Atami has risen to 15, a local official said Sunday, as hundreds of rescuers continued the search for more than a dozen missing residents.

“Two more people were confirmed dead during the weekend, with the number of victims now totaling 15,” disaster-management spokesperson Yuta Hara told AFP.

Fourteen people remain unaccounted for, the official said.

Dozens of homes were swept away when a landslide descended on the resort town in several violent waves on July 3.

It came after days of intense downpours in and around Atami, which lies about 90 kilometers southwest of Tokyo.

Japan was in its rainy season when the floods struck, with many parts of the country vulnerable to landslides because homes are built on slopes where ground can loosen and collapse suddenly after heavy downpours.

Scientists say climate change is also intensifying the country’s rainy seasons because a warmer atmosphere holds more water.

Rescue and recovery efforts involving about 1,300 police officers, firefighters, soldiers and coast guard members were continuing, the spokesperson said.