Steps needed to tackle ripple effects of natural disasters

Japan’s deadly heatwave would have been impossible without climate change

Japan’s heatwave in July 2018 could not have happened without climate change.

That is the unequivocal conclusion of a report released last week, as the country battles yet another record-breaking heatwave.

The July 2018 heatwave, which killed 1,032 people, saw temperatures reach 41.1C (106F), the highest temperature ever recorded in the country. Torrential rains also triggered landslides and the worst flooding in decades.

Penned by the Meteorological Society of Japan, the study is the first to establish that some aspects of the international heatwave could not have occurred in the absence of global warming. Scientists reached this conclusion by employing a technique known as event attribution (EA).

 The relatively new method, lead author Yukkiko Imada told Climate Home News, sought to pin down the causality of climate change in the heatwave by simulating 18 climate…


Steps needed to tackle ripple effects of natural disasters

manila bay
Children collect plastic water bottles among the garbage washed ashore as a result of a storm surge of typhoon Haima at the Manila Bay, the Philippines, Oct 20, 2016. [Photo/VCG]
Climate change is giving rise to more frequent and intense natural disasters, while rapid social and economic progress in the Asia-Pacific is making the region more vulnerable than ever.

Recovery can be swift, but the indirect ripple effects could last for years, if not decades, around the region and elsewhere.

Without preventive action, the human and economic costs of natural disasters will soar. The toll is already enormous. Developing Asia accounted for almost 55 percent of the 60,000 disaster fatalities worldwide between 2000 and 2018, while damage to physical assets cost the region at least $644 billion.

Though economies typically bounce back within a year, the impact of even less severe disasters can last much longer. Urban flooding, landslides and storms often go unrecorded, but by regularly wiping out homes and livelihoods, they trap affected families in poverty and worsen inequality compared with families in less-exposed areas…


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