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Climate Change-Fueled Floods and Wildfires Bring Death and Misery Across the Globe

HeadlineJul 17, 2023

In South Korea, at least 40 people have died after days of torrential downpours and flooding. Twelve people were killed when 16 vehicles, including a bus, got trapped and inundated in a tunnel in Cheongju after a river levee collapsed. Grief-stricken locals called out the response of authorities to the disaster.

Kong Seong-pyo: “It feels like it could have happened to me. I feel like I’ve died. … Authorities should have restricted access to the tunnel in advance. The response was insufficient.”

South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol, who also placed blame on authorities, called for better plans to deal with weather-related disasters, which are becoming “commonplace” due to the climate crisis.

At least 100 people have died in India this month as the monsoon continues to wreak havoc, with entire towns swamped while flooding washes away vehicles, bridges and roads. Delhi has received over 90% more rainfall than is considered normal during the monsoon. But the worst flooding has been experienced in the Himalayan region of Himachal Pradesh, where new construction to accommodate tourists has worsened landslides and flooding. This is a young girl whose former school was swept away.

Chandrakala: “I used to study in this school, and I felt really bad when the school building was washed away. The studies of children who are from far-off places are also suffering. I feel really sad that the children are hit by this loss. Our memories are also washed away with the school.”

Here in the U.S., parts of the Northeast were pummeled with more rain over the weekend. In the Philadelphia suburbs of Bucks County, at least five people died after they were caught in flash flooding while in their car. At least 1,400 flights were canceled in the Northeast as of Sunday night. Meanwhile, thick smoke from hundreds of Canadian wildfires triggered air quality alerts across the Midwest, with Chicago, Minneapolis and Milwaukee reporting “unhealthy” levels of air pollution. There are also warnings put out by the New York governor across the state.

In the Canary Islands, Spanish authorities have evacuated more than 4,000 people from the island of La Palma as firefighters battle “out-of-control” wildfires.

We’ll have more on the global heat wave, extreme weather and the climate crisis after headlines with Rolling Stones reporter Jeff Goodell, author of “The Heat Will Kill You First: Life and Death on a Scorched Planet.”

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