Friday, 4 December 2015

Eighteen feared dead after Sumatra landslide.

Eighteen people are feared to have died after a landslide that buried a communal home in the village of Lebong Tandai in the Bengkulu Province of Sumatra at about 1.45 am local time on Thursday 3 December 2015. At the time of writing only three bodies have been recovered, but the remains of the building are buried under about five meters of rock, soil and other debris, and there is thought to be little hope of finding anyone else alive. The incident took place following sustained heavy rains 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. Approximately 90% of all landslides are caused by heavy rainfall. 

The aftermath of a landslide that is thought to have killed 18 people in the village of Lebong Tandai on Sumatra on 3 December 2015. IST.

Bengkulu Province has a  wet tropical climate, with 2450-3500 mm of rain per year and a wet season that lasts from October to March, with peak rainfall in December. Landslides are a common problem, particularly as a rising population is leading both to increasing deforestation (which removes tree roots that can stabilize slopes) and more people settling on or close to slopes where they are vulnerable.

The location of Lebong Tandai. Google Maps.

See also...

Thousands of new evacuations from villages around Mount Sinabung, Sumatra.               Authorities on the Indonesian island of Sumatra have begun to evacuate people from four villages to the south and southeast of Mount Sinabung, an active volcano on the north of the island...
Three killed by Sumatra landslide.            Three people have reportedly been killed and another three seriously injured following a landslide at the village of Tambang Tinggi in the Sorolangun District of Jambi Province on Sumatra, on the evening of...
Three feared dead after West Sumatra landslide.                                                   Three people are missing presumed dead after a landslide struck a house in the village of Bukit Panjuik in Tigo Nagari District, West Sumatra, on the morning...
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