Japan is no stranger to floods. The country has had its fair share of them over the past years. Thus, 2020 is gracing Japan with an extra set of issues manifested in the shape of destructive floods. Therefore, Japan is not only battling the ongoing global health crisis, but the country is also experiencing the destruction of natural disasters.
Japan has experienced the wrath of typhoons, storms, and heavy flooding before. Since the entire nation is subject to the East Asian rainy season, such incidents are bound to happen during the early months of summer. Moreover, Japan’s geography, as well as its location, increases the risk of flooding and landslide. However, scientists believe that climate change is one of the main reasons behind the increase in these disasters over the years.
2020 Kyushu floods
On 4 July 2020, the southern Japanese island of Kyushu experienced great forms of heavy rain. The rain was so heavy, that it caused the start of the floods. As a safety measure, japan’s Meteorological Agency announced heavy rain warnings in many parts of the prefectures. Many of these areas have never experienced such a reality before. Moreover, the agency made it clear that the region was experiencing record-breaking amounts of rain. The rate of rainfall exceeded 100 millimeters (3.9 in) per hour that day.
By 9 July 2020, reports confirmed the death of 60 people while announcing the missing of almost 12 civilians. Furthermore, the flood caused 12 different landslides while forcing 1.3 million people to evacuate their homes and properties.
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Effects of the floodings
The flooding didn’t only steal civilians’ daily lives but it also halted the ongoing economic activity in Kyushu. Known for its manufacturing significance, the area hosts several important factories such as Toyota, Canon, and Panasonic. Thus, due to the situation, all companies stopped current production to ensure the employee’s safety. Therefore, rain played a major role in disrupting the supply chains.
Moreover, tension also prevailed as evacuees and local officials feared the rapid spread of the global virus in the emergency shelters. However, concerned authorities implemented certain measures as a means of combating the virus. Civilians who arrived at the shelters had their temperature measured while maintaining social distance even inside the emergency shelters.
On the other hand, as shelters became crowded with evacuees, the situation forced many to seek shelter in their cars or with friends and relatives. Such measures were already announced in June when the government predicted this chain of events to prevent the manifestation of a “double disaster”.
The government’s response
To save as many lives as possible, the prime minister created a special task force that was entrusted with rescuing the missing civilians. The force consisted of 10,000 Japan Self-Defense Forces troops who vowed to complete their task.
Moreover, On 5 July 2020, the government deployed a total of 40,000 Self-Defense troops, Coast Guard sailors, as well as firemen to serve in the rescue missions.
Furthermore, the government warned of the arrival of further heavy rain during the next few days. On the morning of 7 July, the rain caused the Chikugo River to overflow which then caused the floods in Hita, Ōita.
As of today, 77 people in total died as a direct result of the flooding while one of them died due to cardiopulmonary arrest. Furthermore, fourteen of the victims were senior residents of an old age home in Kuma.
Moreover, 7 people are still considered missing while 15,335 homes were either destroyed, damaged, or flooded. The flooding also caused some huge damage to 11 bridges.
Japan’s flooding is a warning
The world must take the disasters taking place in Japan as a warning for the ongoing climate change conflict. People need to start taking the conflict seriously or such incidents are bound to become the new norm. Earth will suffer from heat waves, bush fires, intense typhoons, and cyclones, along with sea-level rise, flooding, and drought if we don’t take on serious actions. Thus, not only should we spread awareness of the problem, but we also should start to hold ourselves accountable for our lethal ignorance.
Bloomberg – Are you a robot? (n.d.). A. Retrieved July 21, 2020, from https://www.bloomberg.com/tosv2.html?vid=&uuid=d4569380-cb4f-11ea-836a-f9399fd1cc91&url=L25ld3MvYXJ0aWNsZXMvMjAyMC0wNi0yMi9qYXBhbi1icmFjZXMtZm9yLWRvdWJsZS1kaXNhc3Rlci1vZi1jb3ZpZC1hdC1mbG9vZGluZy1zaGVsdGVycw==https://www3.nhk.or.jp/news/#author. (2020, July 16). 豪雨被害 熊本県中心に77人死亡 7人行方不明 NHKニュース. https://www3.nhk.or.jp/news/html/20200716/k10012518671000.htmlKYODO NEWS. (2020, July 4). 1 dead, 15 feared dead, 9 missing in rain, floods in southwest Japan. https://english.kyodonews.net/news/2020/07/d937a4f28f92-75000-in-southwestern-japan-ordered-to-evacuate-due-to-heavy-rain.htmlSubmission, I. (2020, July 7). At least 53 dead as torrential rains and floodwaters hit Kyushu. The Japan Times. https://www.japantimes.co.jp/news/2020/07/07/national/rain-floods-kyushu/#.Xxbd6SgzbIU