Search efforts continue after landslides in Japan killed at least 39 people and left dozens missing Wednesday.
The landslides occurred in a residential area near a mountain in Hiroshima after the area received more rain in a three-hour period than it typically does in a month.
The downpour on caused mudslides in at least 31 places in the area. At least eight homes were completely destroyed and at least 40 had severe damage.
A local crisis management spokesman said authorities were caught off guard. “The scale of the torrential rain was unprecedented for the city, and we have to admit that we failed to assess its dangers properly.”
Local authorities are getting some criticism for what some say was a delayed response time. An evacuation order for the area did not go out until after the disaster struck.
Since then, NBC says more than 2,500 military personnel, police and rescue workers have joined the recovery efforts.
According to NHK, a rescue worker is among those who died. The firefighter had already saved five people from a collapsed building when the loose sediment shifted and he was buried underneath it.
The Wall Street Journal reports a 1999 landslide that killed 30 people prompted new legislation that required local government to asses areas that seemed hazardous — but officials reportedly haven't followed through on it.
Rescue workers continue to comb through the debris and search for the missing as even more heavy rains are expected to hit the area.