Tuesday, 3 December 2013

Landslide kills nine on northern Sumatra.

Nine people are confirmed to have died following a landslide in the Berastagi sub-district on northern Sumatra on Saturday 30 November 2013. Four of the dead are said to be children under 10 years old. The incident happened following several hours of heavy rain. Landslides are a common problem after severe weather events, as excess pore water pressure can overcome cohesion in soil and sediments, allowing them to flow like liquids. Approximately 90% of all landslides are caused by heavy rainfall.

The site of the 30 November 2013 Berastagi landslide. Kharisma Tarigan/AFP.

November is peak Rainy Season in North Sumatra, and this year the rains have been exceptionally strong, due to high temperatures over the Indian Ocean, which has led to a series of flooding events and landslips. Environmental groups in the area have suggested that this situation has been made worse by extensive logging in the area, which has removed trees whose roots formerly helped to stabilize hillslopes during heavy rains.

The approximate location of the 30 November 2013 Berastagi landslide. Google Maps.


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