As heat waves, typhoons and floods devastate nations across South-East Asia, let’s see at why the region has been hit with wild weather
Extreme weather has hammered parts of Asia with deadly flash-flooding and landslides hitting Vietnam, a powerful monsoon battering the Philippines and Japan braving a sweltering heat wave. Riley Morgan reported on SBS.
Tropical storm devastates Vietnam
Tropical storm Son Tinh has killed 20 people, left 16 missing and injured 14 in Vietnam, the country’s rescue committee says.
Floods triggered by heavy rains hit northern Vietnam after Son Tinh made landfall in northern coastal areas on Thursday, while the capital Hanoi was flooded and lashed by torrential rains.
More than 5000 houses were damaged, swept away, submerged or collapsed, around 82,000 hectares of crops were damaged and nearly 17,000 animals were killed nationwide, the Vietnam National Committee for Search and Rescue said in a report on Saturday.
Typhoon winds hit Shanghai
Typhoon Ampil has hit Chinese financial hub Shanghai, bringing heavy rain and disrupting transport and shipping.
More than 600 flights from the city’s two airports were cancelled and high-speed rail services also impacted, state broadcaster CCTV said early Sunday afternoon.
The typhoon first hit the island of Chongming, 45 km east of the city, with winds up to 28 metres per second near its eye, said the National Meteorological Centre.
The city had already relocated 190,000 people from coastal areas by early Sunday morning, according to a report by state news agency Xinhua.
Six killed in Philippine rains
Manila At least six people have been killed in landslides and other accidents in the Philippines following a week of heavy rains brought about by three tropical cyclones.
More than 12,000 people have also been forced to flee homes due to floods, according to the country’s disaster risk management council.
Two children, aged three and six, were killed on Sunday when a landslide buried their house while they were sleeping in the town of Barbaza, about 400 kilometres south of Manila, police said.
The victims’ mother was injured in the landslide. On Friday, two brothers, 11 and 12, were killed when a portion of their house was buried in thick mountain soil after a landslide in the town of Agoo in the northern province of La Union, police said.
In the town of Bontoc in Mountain Province, a 54-year-old woman died when a passing van was hit by a boulder during a landslide on Wednesday. A 43-year-old man was swept away by a strong current as he crossed a river in the central province of Negros Oriental on July 15.
A continuing heat wave in Japan has led to temperatures as high as 40C, with the casualties climbing up as more deaths were reported.
Public broadcaster NHK reported that until Friday a number of people had been taken to hospital due to heat stroke related symptoms.
The death toll had climbed to 30, after 10 more deaths were reported on Thursday.
Some areas in central Japan registered record high temperatures of 40C, said the Japan Meteorological Agency.
On Friday, temperatures had reached a little above 35C, with the heatwave set to continue over the next few days.
The Tokyo Fire Department reported that rescue teams Thursday responded to more than 3000 emergency calls as the temperatures soared to 40C and 317 people were taken to hospital.
Why is the weather extreme?
University of Melbourne Associate Professor Todd Lane told SBS News the severity of the weather was down to the Madden-Julian Oscillation (MJO).
“This is a mass of cloudy air that essentially forms in the Indian Ocean and moves eastward through the Island regions of Indonesia, Malaysia and the Philippines and then moves into the Pacific Ocean,” Dr Lane told SBS News.
“At the moment it is particularly active so there is a big mass of cloud linked to this Madden-Julian Oscillation event over the Philippines and over the Western Pacific region. So that’s what is causing a lot of the storms in this region and even the tropical cyclones and storms that are moving off to the north to impact China and Japan.”
The MJO is a regularly occurring process and repeats itself every 30 to 60 days. The current MJO event looks likely to decay as it moves towards the Pacific Ocean, according to Dr Lane.