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Japan Landslide Death Toll Expected to More Than Double

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HIROSHIMA, Japan - Heavy rain delayed a search on Friday for more than 50 people believed buried under a deadly landslide on the edge of the Japanese city of Hiroshima. Rescue workers feared the continuing rain could set off further landslides in the area after a month's worth of rain fell in one night on Wednesday, loosening slopes already saturated by heavy rain over the past few weeks. The death toll currently stands at 39.

Among those killed were two brothers, aged 11 and 2, and a firefighter who was engulfed by mud as he was carrying a toddler to safety. The child also perished. "There was a really strange smell, a very raw, earthy smell," one woman told Fuji television. "When we opened a window to see what was going on, the entire hillside just came down, with a crackling noise, a thundering noise." She and her husband fled just before their house filled with mud, leaving 16-foot boulders where they had been sleeping.

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- Reuters