Friday 18 August 2017

Over 100 feared dead after landslide in Ituri Province, Democratic Republic of Congo.

Over a hundred people are feared to have died after a landslide swept through the village of Tora on the shores of Lake Albert in Ituri Province in the northeast of the Democratic Republic of Congo on Wednesday 16 August 2017. The event happened after several days of heavy rain in the area, when a section of hillside collapsed onto the village. Landslides are a common problem after severe weather, 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 approximate location of the 16 August 2017 Tora landslide. Google Maps.

Ituri Province lies slightly to the north of the Equator, and has a climate that is wet for most of the year, though August is the rainiest month, typically receiving about 400 mm of precipitation. Landslides are common in the area, due to a combination of high rainfall, soil with a high content of volcanic ash (which tends to make it more friable) and frequent seismic activity, with the situation made worse by unregulated mining and deforestation, both of which tend to destabilise hillslopes.

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