Rescuers comb Japan landslide site

Rescuers are still combing through the site of a landslide triggered on Wednesday by torrential rain in Japan's Hiroshima prefecture.

A police officer searches for survivors at a site where a landslide swept through a residential area at Asaminami ward in Hiroshima, western Japan, on 21 August, 2014

At least 39 people are now known to have died and rescue teams are working to find more survivors.

The landslide happened in a residential area near a mountain in the Hiroshima city outskirts. Dozens of houses were buried as entire hillsides collapsed.

Japan Self-Defense Force (JSDF) soldiers search for survivors at a site where a landslide swept through a residential area at Asaminami ward in Hiroshima, western Japan, August 20, 2014

The equivalent of a month's rain fell in the lead-up to Wednesday morning.

Members of Japan's Ground Self-Defense Force continue the search for missing people among the debris

Mud gushed through the ground floor of the homes engulfed by the landslides.

This aerial view shows the damage caused by a landslide after heavy rains hit the city of Hiroshima, western Japan, on 20 August, 2014

Aerial images (this taken on 20 August 2014) showed the damage caused by the landslide. Military troops have been deployed at the request of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe to assist in rescue operations.

Members of Japan's Ground Self-Defense Force continue the search for missing people among the debris of house destroyed by a landslide caused by torrential rain at the site of a landslide in a residential area on 21 August, 2014 in Hiroshima, Japan

Among the dead, reports local media say, was a 53-year-old rescuer who was battling to rescue those trapped when a second slurry of mud came through. Reports say he died with a toddler in his arms.

Broken trees are seen at a site where a landslide swept through a residential area at Asaminami ward in Hiroshima, western Japan, on 21 August, 2014

Trees fell and houses were buried in mud and rocks, as rescue teams worked their way towards homes.

A local resident visits a landslide site to check if her house are damaged by a landslide caused by torrential rain on August 21, 2014 in Hiroshima, Japan

Despite intensive search operations, seven people still remain missing.

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