Japan’s Flooding a Perfect Storm for Civil Engineering
Emily Pollock posted on July 11, 2018 | | 104 views
At least 155 people have been killed and almost two million have been evacuated, after a week of historic rain and flooding in Western Japan. And, while officials scramble to ensure that survivors are found and engineering minds debate how to ensure the tragedy doesn’t happen again, Japan’s geology and geography pose a daunting challenge.
As the death toll climbs above 150, rescuers search for missing people in Hiroshima prefecture, western Japan. (Image courtesy of Sadayuki Goto, Associated Press.)
Over the last week, parts of Southwestern Japan have received almost three times the usual amount of rain for the entire month of July, as much as 10cm of rain per hour. Particularly hard-hit are Kurashiki and Hiroshimi, where river overflows contributed to flooding damage. According to Japanese authorities, the flooding is the worst the country has seen in 36 years.
For those in the impacted areas, the rain wasn’t the only problem: the flooding also caused hills to collapse in landslides, burying houses and streets under rivers of mud. And, while rescue workers have been able to return power to all but 3,500 customers, over 200,000 still do not have water. After a cabinet meeting on Tuesday, Finance Minister Taro Asocited the importance of restoring electricity and water in the face of high post-flood temperatures: “There have been requests for…