Death toll from Japan earthquake rises as hopes fade for survivors


Tokyo – Japanese rescue workers with bulldozers and sniffer dogs scrabbled through the mud on Friday to find survivors from a landslide that buried houses after a powerful quake, as the death toll rose to 18.

Around 22 people are still unaccounted for in the small northern countryside town of Atsuma, where a cluster of dwellings were wrecked when a hillside collapsed with the force of the 6.6-magnitude quake, causing deep brown scars in the landscape.

“We’ve heard there are people still stuck under the mud, so we’ve been working around the clock, but it’s been difficult to rescue them,” a Self-Defence Forces serviceman in Atsuma told public broadcaster NHK.

“We will take measures to find them quickly.”

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