Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Japan Hit by Massive Floods as 100,000+ Flee Homes After "Unprecedented' Rainfall

Climate

Widespread flooding and landslides in northeast Japan have forced more than 100,000 people to evacuate. The city of Joso, north of the capital Tokyo, was inundated after the Kinugawa River overflowed, reports the BBC. Originally, an additional 800,000 people were told to evacuate as a precautionary measure by officials, who warned the 5 million residents in northeastern Japan of "once in a half century rains."

"Japan gets hit by, on average, 20 to 30 such storms each year," says the BBC. "This is the 18th this year so despite the heavy rainfall that we have experienced over the last few days, it was difficult to predict how severe the damage would be. The Kinugawa River bursting its banks took even experts by surprise, especially because of the widespread areas that it has affected." At least two people have died, 12 are injured and several others are missing as the flooding left large areas underwater. Scores of Joso residents clung to telephone poles and waited on rooftops to be rescued by helicopter. Entire houses have been swept away by the flooding.

The torrential rain, which Takuya Deshimaru, chief forecaster at the Japan Meteorological Agency, called "unprecedented" for that part of Japan, was brought by Typhoon Etau, which has since been downgraded to a tropical storm. The storm, which made landfall on Wednesday, had moved out into the Sea of Japan by Thursday afternoon, but continued to dump heavy rainfall on many parts of the country.

“This is a downpour on a scale that we have not experienced before,” Deshimaru told The Guardian. “Grave danger could be imminent.”

The heavy rain caused "additional leaks of radioactive water at the stricken Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant," according to The Guardian. Rain "overwhelmed" the site's drainage pumps, releasing hundreds of tons of contaminated water into the Pacific. Joso was soaked with 20 inches of rainfall, NHK national television told Reuters, with weather officials expecting at least eight more inches in parts of eastern Japan, including Fukushima.

YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE

Watch NASA Explain Why We Should All Be Worried About Greenland’s Melting Ice Sheet

Europe’s Next Crisis: Climate Refugees

Naomi Klein: ‘Toxic Ideology of Market Fundamentalism’ Is to Blame for the ‘Degradation of the Planetary System’

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

The Ernest N. Morial Convention Center in New Orleans, Louisiana has been converted to a 1,000-bed field hospital for coronavirus patients to alleviate stress on local hospitals. Chris Graythen / Getty Images

An area in Louisiana whose predominantly black and brown residents are hard-hit by health problems from industry overdevelopment is experiencing one of the highest death rates from coronavirus of any county in the United States.

Read More Show Less
A woman lies in bed with the flu. marka/Universal Images Group via Getty Images

A central player in the fight against the novel coronavirus is our immune system. It protects us against the invader and can even be helpful for its therapy. But sometimes it can turn against us.

Read More Show Less
Sponsored
Several flower species, including the orchid, can recover quickly from severe injury, scientists have found. cunfek / iStock / Getty Images Plus

Calling someone a delicate flower may not sting like it used to, according to new research. Scientists have found that many delicate flowers are actually remarkably hearty and able to bounce back from severe injury.

Read More Show Less
A Boeing 727 flies over approach lights with a trail of black-smoke from the engines on April 9, 2018. aviation-images.com / Universal Images Group via Getty Images

With global air travel at a near standstill, the airline industry is looking to rewrite the rules it agreed to tackle global emissions. The Guardian reports that the airline is billing it as a matter of survival, while environmental activists are accusing the industry of trying to dodge their obligations.

Read More Show Less
A National Guard member works on election day at a polling location on April 7, 2020 in Madison, Wisconsin. Andy Manis / Getty Images.

ByJulia Baumel

The outbreak of COVID-19 across the U.S. has touched every facet of our society, and our democracy has been no exception.

Read More Show Less