Sunday 15 November 2015

Multiple deaths following landslide in Zhejiang Province, China.

Eleven people have been confirmed dead and another 26 are still missing following a landslide that buried about 27 houses in the village of Lidong in the Llandu District of Zhejiang Province at about 10.50 pm local time on Friday 13 November 2015. The incident happened after two days of heavy rain in the area, and is thought to have involved about 30 million cubic meters of rock and soil. 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. One person is being treated in hospital for injuries sustained in the landslide. Rescue attempts are reportedly being hampered by flooding caused by the partial blockage of a river by the landslide.

 The scene of the Friday 13 November 2015 Lidong landslide. Xinhua.

Luishi is in the southwest of Zhejiang province, and has a humid subtropical climate influenced by the East Asian Monsoon. Peak rainfall occurs between March and August, though no month is particularly dry. In November the district typically receives about 60 mm of rain, though this year the month has been exceptionally wet, with 36 mm recorded on 13 November alone.

The approximate location of the 13 November 2015 Lidong Landslide.  Google Maps.

The hillslope where the incident occurred was reportedly identified as a landslip hazard in July this year, with a local company, Zhejiang Jiang Huakun Geological Development Co. Ltd. engaged to carry out remedial work. It is unclear how far this work had proceeded at the time of the landslide.

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