Tuesday 4 June 2013

Five people killed by landslip at Java brickworks.

Five people have been killed by a landslip at a brickworks at Tegal in Central Java. The incident occurred at a about 3.45 pm local time (8.45 am GMT) on Tuesday 4 June 2013, while the five workers were collecting clay from beneath a five meter high cliff close to the factory, when the slope collapsed suddenly. Witnesses report they were working in an excavation which reached about a meter into the cliff. The incident came amid anomalous rainfall in Indonesia, that has brought widespread flooding and related problems, particularly to Java and Sumatra, and which many people are connecting to global warming. 252 people have died in weather related incidents in Indonesia since January, including 115 in landslides.

The site of the 4 June landslide that killed five people in Central Java. Oky Lukmansyah/Antara News.

Indonesia's Badan Meteorologi Klimatologi dan Geofisika (Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency) has blamed unusually high temperatures over the Indian Ocean for the exceptional weather; this leads to higher levels of evaporation from the ocean's surface, which is then carried eastwards by the prevailing winds, falling as rain when it encounters cooler air over the highlands of Java and Sumatra. 

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 approximate location of the Tegal landslip. Google Maps.

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