EARTH AT BREAKING POINT

Arthur Greene

Landslides, wildfires and deadly floods happening simultaneously across five of the planet’s continents have left a path of devastation in their wake.

Climate scientists have long warned that the climate crisis will lead to more frequent extreme weather events and natural disasters across the globe, and now the planet is most certainly suffering the consequences.

Floods

Over the past two weeks, deadly flooding has ravaged parts of Europe and China. 

Heavy rains crashed down over China’s Henan region this week, forcing the mass evacuation of over 100,000 people from their homes.

Terrifying footage of a crowded subway in Zhengzhou rapidly filling up with water has dominated international news broadcasts. Twelve people drowned in the underground chaos while 500 more had to be rescued.

Meanwhile, flooding has also devastated entire settlements in Europe. 170 people have so far been killed in Germany in the worst flooding the country has ever seen. In Belgium, 31 people have died and a further 70 are reported missing.

Large scale rescue missions continue in both countries to locate those still trapped by the floods.

Wildfires

Several wildfires continue to rage across the US and Canada.

“Wildfire activity continues in 13 states where 83 large fires have burned 1,293,636 acres,” the National Interagency Fire Center said in a statement on Tuesday 20 July.

The largest of these continues to blaze across the state of Oregon and has scorched an area of earth larger than the city of Los Angeles.

Smoke from these fires has blown east, and the Guardian reported on Thursday that the air in New York City is currently among the world’s most polluted. Vulnerable people, such as those with asthma and heart disease, have been urged to stay inside.

In Canada, a ‘heat dome’ has descended upon the northern reaches of the country, with temperatures reaching up to 45C. Hundreds of sudden deaths have been recorded in the country in the past few weeks.

On the other side of the northern hemisphere, Siberia has been hit by wildfires of an unprecedented scale. The forest fires have burned through 3,7 million acres of land and more than 50 settlements have been shrouded in smog.

Landslides

In India and Japan, landslides have wreaked havoc.

In the Indian city of Mumbai, a giant wall collapsed in the Mahul area, crushing 14 people. Many more were swept away by landslides in the suburb of Vikhroli.

Earlier this month, powerful mudslides plummeted through Japan, sweeping away dozens of buildings and leaving dozens more people missing.

Image source: @StevenDelDuca

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