Climate Change: Massive heat-wave sweeps Japan, 57 killed, 18,000 end up in hospital

Heatwave Pixabay

August 6 remains a day of remembering the first atom bomb dropped on Hiroshima in Japan but this year, more than the bomb, heat wave has swept the nation, sending thousands to hospital and leaving 57 dead so far.

The Japanese government said on Tuesday, Aug. 6, that 57 people died and almost 18,347 people were taken to the hospital due to heat wave-related medical emergencies in the last one week starting July 29. It was reported last week that over 5,000 people were admitted to local hospitals due to the heightened heat wave.

As per Japan's Fire and Disaster Management Agency, the weekly figure for admission in hospitals due to increased temperature was second-highest since 2008, when they started recording it.

The Japan Times reported that of the 18,347 people who were taken to hospitals, 729 had developed symptoms that will require more than three weeks of treatment, while 6,548 had been diagnosed with less serious issues and needed shorter treatment process. It should be noted that elderly people, mostly aged 65 or above accounted for 54.3 per cent of the total.

As reports claimed Tokyo topped the list of hospitalization of the people, which is 1,857 and then Aichi Prefecture, as well as Saitama Prefecture where 1,342 and 1,307 ended up in hospitals respectively.

The Fire and Disaster Management Agency also mentioned that a high-pressure system over the area of Japan preserved extreme heat so the agency has asked the members of the public to stay hydrated and rest in cooler areas.

Earlier, a study led by Ke Xu, who is postdoc working with Prof Riyu Lu and Prof Jiangyu Mao in the Institute of Atmospheric Physics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, suggested that a deep anomalous anticyclone over East Asia is responsible for this increased heat that includes "anomalous subsidence and consequent higher surface temperature."

This research was conducted while focusing on increased heat-waves over South Korea and Japan's southern-central region. The lead author of this study stated earlier that the anomalous anticyclone triggered by the wave trains is "indicative to the occurrence of EH over South Korea and southern-central Japan."

This article was first published on August 7, 2019