Deadly Month: Japan's Weather-related Deaths Top 300 in July
TOKYO (AP) — More than 300 people died in July from weather-related disasters in one of Japan's deadliest months in recent years.
First came record rainfall. Disaster authorities say at least 220 people were killed early in the month by severe flooding and landslides in western Japan, with nine more still missing and presumed dead. That was followed by record temperatures topping 40 degrees Celsius (104 degrees Fahrenheit). The heat has been blamed for 116 deaths.
The toll was high, even for a country prone to earthquakes, volcanic eruptions and typhoons. One of the wealthiest nations in the world, Japan has used its technological prowess to build substantial defenses against natural disasters. Rivers are lined with tall walls and man-made embankments to keep them from overflowing. Skyscrapers, built on shock-absorbing systems, are designed to sway in an earthquake instead of toppling.
A big-enough disaster, though, overwhelms the defenses.
Western Japan saw historic rainfall at the end of the first week of July. Warm and humid air from the Pacific Ocean intensified a seasonal rain front, triggering torrential downpours, the Japan Meteorological Agency said. What was left of a typhoon earlier in the week added to water levels.
The death toll was the largest from a major storm since 1982, according to the Nippon.com website.
About half the victims were in Hiroshima prefecture, where the more than 100 deaths exceeded the 77 killed by landslides in the same state in 2014. Also hard-hit was neighboring Okayama prefecture, where a river embankment collapsed in Kurashiki city, submerging neighborhoods in one-story high floodwaters.
More than 70,000 troops and emergency workers were dispatched to...