A record 3,451 mudslide disasters occurred in 2018 due to torrential rains and a powerful earthquake in Hokkaido, land ministry data showed Wednesday.

The preliminary figure, covering all prefectures apart from Ibaraki, Tochigi and Tokyo, is the highest since comparable data became available in 1982 and more than three times higher than the annual average of 1,015 through 2017, the Ministry of Land, Infrastructure, Transport and Tourism said.

With concerns growing about an increase in downpours and typhoons linked to global warming, the government plans to enhance disaster preparedness for people living in areas prone to natural disasters by raising awareness of the potential hazards they may face.

According to the land ministry data, 161 people died in mudslides this year, the third highest on record, and 1,443 homes were damaged or destroyed.

More than a third of the landslide disasters, or 1,243, occurred in Hiroshima Prefecture, followed by 419 in Ehime, 237 in Hokkaido, 193 in Yamaguchi and 171 in Kochi.

In addition, just over 40 people were killed after a magnitude 6.7 earthquake hit Hokkaido in September, triggering landslides and a blackout across the island.