Torrential rain fell on Hiroshima all through the night of 19th-20th August, depositing more than a month’s rainfall in a few hours. The hills above Asaminamiku and Asakita to the north of Hiroshima city had already absorbed a lot of water during a very wet summer season. At least three major landslides occurred between 3:20 a.m and 4:00 a.m. hitting the suburbs of Yagi as well as Midori and Yamamoto, burying dozens of people under mud and debris, and washing others away.
Nineteen houses have been completely destroyed, 31 half destroyed, forty partly damaged and nearly 200 invaded by mud and sludge.
So far, 71 people are known to have died and at least 15 people are still missing. We ask for your prayers for the victims.
As for the clean-up operation, emergency services and personnel from the Self Defence Force are working as hard as they can, as well as many volunteers both Japanese and foreign residents of hiroshima.
Here are some photos taken by GetHiroshima.com which give you some idea of the scale of the disaster and how volunteers are working to help clean up the area…
Source: Photos available under a Creative Commons licence at: https://www.flickr.com/photos/gethiroshima/sets/72157646809910355/
Foreign Resident Volunteers’ Experiences
You can read about the experiences of a couple of long-term foreign residents of Hiroshima who volunteered to help with the clear-up one week after the mudslides struck:
- Volunteering in the Hiroshima Landslide Zone by JJ Walsh
- Landslide Volunteer Clean-Up Crew by Dan James
If you are in Hiroshima and want to volunteer…
Here is the Japanese site for Hiroshima landslide volunteers: http://hiroshimavc.jp/
Do not go directly to the disaster zone. You must first visit the volunteer registration centre at Asa-minami-ku to register, get volunteer insurance and equipment.
Asa-minami-ku Volunteer Center Asa Minami Ku, Nakasu 1-38-13
Tel: 080-2931-3142 and 080-2931-3242
Asa-kita-ku Volunteer Center Asa-kita-ku Social Welfare Center 3-19-22 Kabe, Asa-kita-ku
Both centres are open from 9am to 5pm.
Here is the location of the disaster area: