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Japan hit by worst weather disaster in decades: Why did so many die?

Source(s):  Thomson Reuters

By Linda Sieg

Torrential rains unleashed floods and set off landslides in western Japan last week, killing at least 176 people, forcing millions to evacuate and leaving dozens missing in the country's worst weather disaster in 36 years.

Below are some reasons for the high death toll.

[...]

The recent rainfall was unprecedented and disaster experts said torrential rains are becoming more frequent, possibly due to global warming.

"The government is just starting to realise that it needs to take steps to mitigate the impact of global warming," said Takashi Okuma, an emeritus professor at Niigata University who studies disasters.

[...]

However, experts say many homes in Japan were built in risky areas before the 2001 requirement to distribute hazard maps.

[...]

Japan, one of the most seismically-active places in the world, has stressed earthquake preparedness and regulations to make buildings quake-proof, but it has done less about potential flood disasters, said Okuma from Niigata University.

[...]

The government monitors weather conditions and issues early warnings, but the nation remains vulnerable to disasters because much of the country outside major cities is mountainous and construction takes place on virtually every bit of usable land.

[...]



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  • Publication date 11 Jul 2018

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