Thursday 7 July 2016

Landslide kills thirty-five in Xinjiang Province, China.

Thirty-five people have been confirmed dead following a landslide which struck a village in the Kunlun Mountains of western Xinjiang Province early in the morning of Wednesday 6 July 2016. The incident, which happened in Yecheng County, has been attributed to heavy rains this month, which have caused widespread flooding and washed away several roads 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. 

Reascue workers at the site of the 6 July 2016 Yecheng County landslide. Wiebo/CRI English.

Western Xinjiang has an arid climate, typically receiving less than 65 mm of rain per year. However like other desert areas occasional outbreaks of heavy rain do occur, and when this happens flash flooding is a serious problem, as protracted periods of dry weather can cause topsoil to dry out completely, making it vulnerable to being blown away by the wind. When rain does arrive it then falls on exposed bedrock, which is much less absorbent, triggering flash flooding as the water escapes over the surface of the ground rather than sinking into it. These floods wash away more topsoil, making the problem progressively worse over time.

See also... floods and landslides kill at least 65 in northern Pakistan.                                          At least sixty five people have died folowing a series of flash floods and landslides in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Azad Kashmir and Gilgit Baltistan Provinces in northern Pakistan on Sunday 3 April 2016t... and landslides kill over 30 people in northern Pakistan.                                      Thirty four people have been confirmed dead and many more are still missing as heavy rain falls across northern Pakistan. The rainfall has led to flooding which has affected many communities, as well... 7.2 Earthquake kills two in Tajikistan.                                                    The United States Geological Survey recorded a Magnitude 7.2 Earthquake at a depth of 30 km about 50 km in the Pamir Mountains of eastern Tajikistan...
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