Landslides in Japan have killed at least 39 people
, officials report. 51 people near Hiroshima city are still missing; it is likely that the death toll will rise as search efforts continue. A reported 23 people sustained injuries in the natural disaster, with 13 of those injured critically.
Torrential rain in western Japan caused land to cave in and houses to be swept away on Wednesday the Associated Press reports. Dozens of houses were destroyed in the disaster.
Some have criticized city officials for failing to give residents evacuation orders until the storm until after the landslides began. The Hiroshima city officials argued that the landslides occurred quickly and did not allow time for them to react.
Rescue efforts remain underway as 2,500 police and military members search the devastated area.
Publication date: August 21, 2014