Friday 30 August 2013

Six children dead in Honduran landslide.

Six children between the ages of one and nine, described as siblings and cousins, have been killed in a landslide that destroyed two houses in Santa Cruz de Yojoa in Cortés Province in central Honduras in the evening of Wednesday 28 August 2013. Two other children were injured in the incident, one of whom is described as being in a serious condition and is still receiving treatment in a local hospital. The incident comes after heavy rains in the area, Landslides are a common problem after severe weather events, as excess pore water pressure overcomes the sediments cohesion and allows it to flow downhill. Approximately 90% of all landslides are caused by heavy rainfall.

The approximate location of the 28 August 2013 Santa Cruz de Yojoa landslide. Google Maps.

Central Honduras is considered to be particularly vulnerable to landslides, due to a combination of thin topsoils and eroded bedrock. The country is one of the poorest and most underdeveloped in Central America, and has a rapidly growing population, which has led to both widespread deforestation (which removes large trees with root systems that help to stabilize slopes) and agriculture and settlements spreading into steeper, more vulnerable areas. In theory Honduras has fairly strict laws on forestry, but in practice these are seldom applied, and valuable tropical hardwood trees are often targeted for their timber, and to clear land for agriculture and cattle ranching.

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