Japan: UN chief praises work of emergency responders in wake of deadly landslide

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The UN chief on Monday extended his condolences to the families of those who died in a landslide, which struck the Japanese coastal city of Atami in Shizuoka Prefecture, over the weekend.

According to news reports, at least four have been declared dead, with around 80 still missing, when record high levels of rain fell across the region, triggering the landslide in the residential area.

.@antonioguterres is saddened by reports of loss of life & destruction caused by a mudslide in Japan. He extends his deep condolences to the families of the victims, commends the work of the emergency responders & wishes a speedy recovery to those injured. https://t.co/dj2nXjTMp3

— UN Spokesperson (@UN_Spokesperson) July 5, 2021

The resort town of around 36,000, famous for its hot springs, is near Mount Fuji, some two hours southwest of Tokyo. Officials have reportedly warned that more heavy rains are forecast this week, keeping the area on high alert.

Saddened

In a statement released by his Spokesperson, Secretary-General António Guterres said he was saddened by the reported loss of life and destruction caused.

“He extends his deep condolences to the families of the victims, the Government and people of Japan. He commends the work of the emergency responders and wishes a speedy recovery to those who are injured.

“The United Nations stands in solidarity with the Government and people of Japan”, the statement concluded.

Rescues

Around 1,500 rescue workers were reportedly searching the site of the disaster on Monday, and authorities said that an elderly couple were among 23 people rescued so far.

Atami saw more rainfall in the first three days of July, than it normally sees in the whole month, and has not been alone in suffering the impact of the heavy rains across Japan. Dozens of other cities and towns close to the capital have also recorded record levels.

The country has experienced a rise in floods in recent years, attributed to the effects of global warming, which has seen average rainfall increase.

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