Aug 15, 2021 - Science

Heavy rains trigger deadly mudslides and flooding in Japan

The site of a landslide caused by heavy rain in Kanzaki City, Saga Prefecture on August 15
The site of a landslide caused by heavy rain in Kanzaki City, Saga Prefecture, Japan, on Sunday. Photo: STR/JIJI Press/AFP via Getty Images

Heavy rains across Japan triggered a mudslide and flooding on Sunday, as almost 2 million people were under evacuation orders, per the BBC.

Details: Rescuers found three of the eight people the mudslide had buried in the central Japanese prefecture of Nagano on Sunday, but three others were presumed dead, AP reports.

  • Mudslides on Friday left at least one person dead in Nagasaki and another person in Hiroshima seriously wounded.

The big picture: A 2020 report from the Japanese government found that the country averaged as many as 1,500 landslides annually over the previous decade, almost a 50% increase from the 10 years preceding it.

  • Researchers have found climate change is "intensifying the risk of heavy rain in Japan and elsewhere, because a warmer atmosphere holds more water," the Guardian notes.
  • A sweeping report published last week by the UN's IPCC concludes: "Human influence on the climate system is now an established fact."

Go deeper: UN report: Effects of climate change even more severe than we thought

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