The summer hasn’t been kind to Japan. The usually hot summer was even hotter than normal with the temperatures topping out at 106 degrees, beating the old record of 105. The record temps weren’t just at one location, either; a large portion of the country recorded record highs. A recent report from Kyodo News cites that there were at least 77 heat-related deaths. “The heat is a threat to life. We recognize it as a natural disaster,” an official with the Japan Meteorological Agency said at a press conference.
The island nation was also dealing with the aftermath of severe flooding from earlier in the summer that was considered the worst in 40 years. It was reported by Japanese broadcaster NHK that 14.3 inches of rain fell between 5 am and 7am in Uwajima on July 11th and that was just a sample of what July had offered. The summer continued with Typhoon Jebi, considered the worst in 35 years. The death toll was officially recorded as 10, seven of those deaths were in Osaka.
And then a major earthquake hit the north island of Hokkaido last Friday, August 31st and killing 16 as well as causing massive mudslides that buried homes in the mountainous region.
We say all this as a reminder that disasters like this don’t just happen in the developing world or small islands in the Caribbean. A major developed nation like Japan can be knocked back on its heels after repeated disasters. The people responding to these emergencies are none other than the same people who respond to crises like these all over the world: the Red Cross. The Japanese Red Cross Society is a good place to make your donation if you feel like helping out the country that gave us instant noodles, emojis, and the Walkman.