900,000 Forced to Evacuate Deadly Flooding in Japan
Floods and landslides triggered by record-setting rainfall in southern Japan have forced authorities to order more than 900,000 people to leave their homes and another one million were advised to move to safety on Wednesday, according to Reuters.
In just 48 hours, Kyushu Island received more than twice its average rainfall for the entire month of August.
By Thursday morning, three people were dead and one was missing on Kyushu Island, while the Japan Meteorological Agency said the torrential rains were finally expected to diminish in the south today, according to the Kyodo News, but heavy rains and lightning would hit large swaths of northern and western Japan.
The rains soaked Kyushu Island with alarming speed, soaking some areas with over 4 inches of rain in just one hour. The downpours caused rivers to swell in Fukuoka, Saga and Nagasaki prefectures, as CNN reported.
Dramatic images showed residents in knee deep water and cars half-submerged after several rivers breached their banks on Wednesday, according to the Evening Standard.
"I woke up and the water was ankle-deep in my house, which has never happened before," one man in an evacuation center told NHK Japan's national broadcaster, as Reuters reported. "So I played it safe and evacuated early before things got any worse."
An elderly man was found dead after his car was washed away by floodwaters in Takeo city, Saga Prefecture, said the Fire and Disaster Management Agency. Two more people were seriously injured, according to CNN. Meanwhile, Kyodo News reported that a 96-year-old woman was found dead in a flooded home in Takeo city. One man died after being swept away when he stepped out of his car. Another woman was found unconscious after her car fell into a waterway, the Evening Standard reported.
The Japanese military deployed troops to help with rescue efforts, evacuation and disaster relief after a request from the local government in Saga prefecture, according to the Evening Standard.
The flooding and mudslides crippled transportation, as the Japan Rail Saga station was underwater. JR Kyushu, the national railway operator in the area, suspended or delayed almost all train services due to heavy rain, according to a statement posted on its official website, as CNN reported.
Reuters reported that Twitter users posted video of muddy brown streams running down the streets.
"The first floor of our house is flooded and a total wreck, so we're here on the second floor, awaiting rescue," one person posted on Twitter. "We can see the firemen out there moving around, but our street is such a mess they don't seem to want to come in."
This is not the first flooding disaster to hit the area this summer. In July, more than a million people on Kyushu Island were ordered to evacuate orders after the area was slammed with nearly a month's worth of rain in a single day, which killed one woman in Kagoshima city, as CNN reported.
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By Harry Kretchmer
By 2030, almost a third of all the energy consumed in the European Union must come from renewable sources, according to binding targets agreed in 2018. Sweden is helping lead the way.
Sweden is a world leader in renewable energy consumption. Swedish Institute/World Bank
Naturally Warm<p>54% of Sweden's power comes from renewables, and is helped by its geography. With plenty of moving water and 63% forest cover, it's no surprise the <a href="https://sweden.se/nature/energy-use-in-sweden/#" target="_blank">two largest renewable power sources</a> are hydropower and biomass. And that biomass is helping support a local energy boom.</p><p>Heating is a key use of energy in a cold country like Sweden. In recent decades, as fuel oil taxes have increased, the country's power companies have turned to renewables, like biomass, to fuel local 'district heating' plants.</p><p>In Sweden these trace their <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0360544217304140#fig3" target="_blank">origins back to 1948</a>, when a power station's excess heat was first used to heat nearby buildings: steam is <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/topics/engineering/district-heating-system" target="_blank">forced along a network of pipes</a> to wherever it's needed. Today, there are around 500 district heating systems across the country, from major cities to small villages, providing heat to homes and businesses.</p><p>District heating used to be fueled mainly from the <a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0360544217304140" target="_blank">by-products of power plants</a>, waste-to-energy plants and industrial processes. These days, however, Sweden is bringing more renewable sources into the mix. And as a result of competition, this localized form of power is now the country's<a href="https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0360544217304140#fig3" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer"> home-heating market leader.</a></p>
Sweden is using smart grids to turn buildings into energy producers. Huang et al/Elsevier
Energy ‘Prosumers’<p>But Sweden doesn't stop at village-level heating solutions. Its new breed of energy-generation takes hyper-local to the next level.</p><p>One example is in the city of Ludivika where 1970s flats <a href="https://www.buildup.eu/sites/default/files/content/transforming-a-residential-building-cluster-into-electricity-prosumers-in-sweden.pdf" target="_blank">have recently been retrofitted with the latest smart energy technology</a>.</p><p>48 family apartments spread across 3 buildings have been given photovoltaic solar panels, thermal energy storage and heat pump systems. A micro energy grid connects it all, and helps charge electric cars overnight.</p><p>The result is a cluster of 'prosumer' buildings, producing rather than consuming enough power for 77% of residents' needs. With <a href="http://www.diva-portal.org/smash/get/diva2:1232060/FULLTEXT01.pdf" target="_blank" rel="noopener noreferrer">high levels of smart meter usage</a>, it's a model that looks set to spread across Sweden.</p>
<div id="d7bf9" class="rm-shortcode" data-rm-shortcode-id="8757b138d5570bec9d6aad18074a429a"><blockquote class="twitter-tweet twitter-custom-tweet" data-twitter-tweet-id="1273556364263071744" data-partner="rebelmouse"><div style="margin:1em 0">Read more about Western Harbour and book a visit: https://t.co/ujSmVs9rNK 🏡🌳🌊 https://t.co/C5PuPziqIM</div> — Smart City Sweden (@Smart City Sweden)<a href="https://twitter.com/SmartCitySweden/statuses/1273556364263071744">1592474473.0</a></blockquote></div>
Scaling Up<p>A recent development by E.ON in Hyllie, a district on the outskirts of Malmö, southern Sweden, <a href="https://www.eonenergy.com/blog/2019/February/sweden-smart-city" target="_blank">has scaled up the smart grid principle</a>. Energy generation comes from local wind, solar, biomass and waste sources.</p><p>Smart grids then balance the power, react to the weather, deploying extra power when it's colder or putting excess into battery storage when it's warm. The system is not only more efficient, but bills have fallen.</p><p>Smart energy developments like those in Hyllie, Ludivika, and renewable-driven district heating, offer a radical alternative to the centralized energy systems many countries rely on today.</p><p>The EU's leaders have a challenge: how to generate 32% of energy from renewables by 2030. Sweden offers a vision of how technology and local solutions can turn a goal into a reality.</p>
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By Jessica Corbett
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