Natural disasters hit the world

For decades, scientists have warned that climate change will make heat waves more frequent and intense and cause extreme rainfall events during non-tropical hurricanes and flash floods.

In the Northern Hemisphere, drought conditions are expanding and worsening due to a record heatwave.

In other parts of the world like Eastern Europe, catastrophic floods have taken many lives and hundreds more are missing.

Western Europe

At least 120 people have died in Germany and Belgium from the worst floods in decades.

Shocking footage of the devastation in Germany and Belgium showed entire villages underwater, with cars wedged between collapsed buildings and rubble. The Netherlands and Luxembourg have also been affected by extreme rains.

Most of the deaths have been registered in Germany, more than a hundred, where there are also more than 1,000 missings.

Belgium reported at least 22 deaths from extreme weather, for which political leaders have blamed climate change.

These incidents are a consequence of the record levels of precipitation that Western Europe has experienced in recent days, which have caused some of the main rivers in the region to overflow.

Experts described the recent events as the heaviest rains in a century.

China

Torrential rains have caused devastating flooding in central China.

In Zhengzhou City, Henan Province, subway passengers were trapped in waist-deep water.

The strong currents created by the floods swept cars and people through the streets.

At least 12 people died in Zhengzhou and, more than 100,000 have been evacuated from the region.

Japan

In early July, torrential rains triggered a powerful mudslide in Atami, Shizuoka Prefecture, about 90 kilometres southwest of Tokyo, Japan. The landslide destroyed some 130 buildings. Japan is prone to avalanches, averaging up to 1,500 a year in the last decade, an increase of nearly 50% compared to the previous ten years, according to a 2020 Japanese government report.

North America

The fire affecting the state of Oregon is considered the largest this season, with at least 4,428 hectares affected and only 10% of the fire contained. Idaho, Oregon and California are the states most affected by this series of fires that have been registered since last month in the framework of a heatwave that affects the United States and Canada. The unprecedented heatwave off the west coast of the US -recorded since last month- with temperatures reaching 51 degrees Celsius in some states, has triggered a series of wildfires in the western region of the country.

Satellite images from the National Weather Service showed an enormous plume of smoke billowing up Bootleg in southern Oregon to the Canadian border, hundreds of miles northeast.

Strong winds and widespread thunderstorms remain, however, a severe threat.

Firefighters say a fast-growing fire in California’s Lake Tahoe resort area was caused by lightning.

At the same time, Canadian firefighters continued to fight dozens of fires this Sunday, including about 20 new ones in the province of British Columbia and another 15 in the Province of Ontario (northwest).

Scientists say climate change amplifies droughts, which in turn create ideal conditions for wildfires to spread.

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