At least eighteen people were killed in Japan on Wednesday when landslides touched off by torrential rain slammed into the outskirts of the city of Hiroshima, including several children, police and media said.
Thirteen people were also missing, media said, after a month's worth of rain fell overnight, loosening slopes already saturated by heavy rain over the past few weeks.
"There was rain and thunder all night, beating down so hard I was scared to go outside," a resident told Fuji TV. "Great big drops. I've never seen anything like this."
Helicopters clattered overhead, lifting out survivors, as rescue workers searched through mud and piles of stones in residential areas about 5 kilometers (3 miles) from the city center.
Those dug out of the debris included a two-year-old boy and his eleven-year-old brother, whose house was struck as they slept.
A child's red school bag, covered in mud, lay in the debris.