HIROSHIMA - 36 people are dead and seven missing following landslides in northern Hiroshima early Wednesday after the area was hit by torrential rain.
Landslides occurred at more than 10 locations within an area that stretches about 15 kilometers north to south across the city's Asa-Minami and Asa-Kita wards, with dirt pouring into many homes and trapping residents under mud and crushed buildings.
According to the National Police Agency, 36 people-including two boys aged 2 and 11-were confirmed dead, while seven people were missing as of Wednesday evening. The casualties also include a rescue worker who was buried under the mud while on his rescue mission.
Based on a request from the Hiroshima prefectural government, the Ground Self-Defence Force has dispatched units to the disaster-hit area, while the central government set up a liaison office for the Hiroshima disaster at the Prime Minister's Office on Wednesday.
The prefectural government decided Wednesday to apply the Disaster Relief Law to the Hiroshima disaster.