The best of EcoWatch, right in your inbox. Sign up for our email newsletter!
Historic Floods in Japan Kill More Than 100, Force Millions to Flee
The flooding was prompted by Japan's heaviest rainfall in decades. Parts of western Japan saw three times July's regular rainfall since Thursday, BBC News reported.
"We've never experienced this kind of rain before," a weather official told BBC News.
What The Guardian labeled the country's worst weather disaster since 2011 is in line with government predictions for the impact of climate change on Japan. A 2012 report found that global warming could increase the risk of flooding and landslide disasters due to heavy rain.
"The record rainfalls in various parts of the country have caused rivers to burst their banks, and triggered large scale floods and landslides in several areas," Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga told CNN Sunday.
Naoaki Ogawa, a 69-year-old from Hiroshima, told BBC News how a landslide trapped him in his car.
"I turned the car to the right, and saw another wave of mud ... sweep away three cars that were in front of me," he said. "I have lived here for more than 20 years, but there has never been something like this. I was so scared."
As rains dissipated Sunday, the search and rescue operation kicked off in earnest.
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe cancelled a trip planned this week to France, Belgium, Saudi Arabia and Egypt and dedicated more than 70,000 workers to relief efforts.
He said relief personnel were "working against time," according to BBC News.
"There are still many people missing and others in need of help," he said.
One such person was Shigeyuki Asano, a 79-year-old patient who was one of 170 evacuated from a hospital balcony in Kurashiki via paddle boat Sunday, according to The Guardian.
"I'm really grateful to the rescuers," Asano said. "I feel so relieved that I've been freed from such a bad-smelling, dark place."
The rains began with a typhoon last week, according to BBC News, and have been especially destructive in the southwest, including the city of Hiroshima, The Guardian reported.
The rains damaged thousands of homes and left nearly 17,000 without power, CNN reported.
There are now concerns that a heat wave could further endanger those left without power.
"We cannot take baths, the toilet doesn't work and our food stockpile is running low," Yumeko Matsui told The Guardian.While the weekend's floods were historic, they are part of a pattern in increased heavy rainfall that could be linked to climate change. The 2012 government study, Climate Change and Its Impacts in Japan, found that the number of days with one millimeter (approximately 0.04 inches) or more of rain had decreased while the number of days with 100 millimeters (approximately four inches) or more of rain had increased.
EcoWatch Daily Newsletter
That salmon sitting in your neighborhood grocery store's fish counter won't look the same to you after watching Artifishal, a new film from Patagonia.
Get ready to toast bees, butterflies and hummingbirds. National Pollinator Week is June 17-23 and it's a perfect time to celebrate the birds, bugs and lizards that are so essential to the crops we grow, the flowers we smell, and the plants that produce the air we breathe.
The U.S Forest Service unveiled a new plan to skirt a major environmental law that requires extensive review for new logging, road building, and mining projects on its nearly 200 million acres of public land. The proposal set off alarm bells for environmental groups, according to Reuters.
By Teju Adisa-Farrar & Raul Garcia
In the summer of 1969 a banner hung over a set of condemned homes in what was then the predominantly black and brown Brookland neighborhood in Washington, DC. It read, "White man's roads through black men's homes."
Earlier in the year, the District attempted to condemn the houses to make space for a proposed freeway. The plans proposed a 10-lane freeway, a behemoth of a project that would divide the nation's capital end-to-end and sever iconic Black neighborhoods like Shaw and the U Street Corridor from the rest of the city.