A family of eleven has been made homeless following a landslide which destroyed their home on Thursday 23 November 2017. The incident happened slightly after 2.15 am local time, at Jalan Melekun in the Kapit Division, and also damaged three other properties, though fortunately nobody was hurt as the family were away at the time. The incident is reported to have happened after heavy rainfall in the area.
The scene of the 23 November 2017 Kapit landslide. The Star.
The incident is reported to have happened after heavy rainfall in the area. 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. Malaysia has become increasingly landslip-prone in recent years due to extensive deforestation, which leaves soil exposed to heavy tropical rainfall. Concerns have also been raised about the large number of construction sites on steep hillslopes in urban areas, where workers are particularly vulnerable to landslip events during the Monsoon Seasons.
The approximate location of the 23 November 2017 Kapit landslide. Google Maps.
Sarawak has two distinct Monsoon Seasons, with a Northeast Monsoon driven by winds from the South China Sea that lasts from November to February and a Southwest Monsoon driven by winds from the southern Indian Ocean from March to October. Such a double Monsoon Season is common close to the equator, where the Sun is highest overhead around the equinoxes and lowest on the horizons around the solstices, making the solstices the coolest part of the year and the equinoxes the hottest.
The winds that drive the Northeast and Southwest Monsoons in Southeast Asia. Mynewshub.
Monsoons are tropical sea breezes triggered by heating of the land during the warmer part of the year (summer). Both the land and sea are warmed by the Sun, but the land has a lower ability to absorb heat, radiating it back so that the air above landmasses becomes significantly warmer than that over the sea, causing the air above the land to rise and drawing in water from over the sea; since this has also been warmed it carries a high evaporated water content, and brings with it heavy rainfall. In the tropical dry season the situation is reversed, as the air over the land cools more rapidly with the seasons, leading to warmer air over the sea, and thus breezes moving from the shore to the sea (where air is rising more rapidly) and a drying of the climate.
Diagrammatic representation of wind and rainfall patterns in a tropical monsoon climate. Geosciences/University of Arizona.
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