Over a hundred people have been trapped in their homes by a landslide that cut off access to the community of Akwakuma in Imo State, Nigeria, on Saturday 5 September 2020. The landslip cut through Trinity Road in the Owerri North Local Government Area, and is thought to have been triggered by heavy rains associated with Nigeria's annual rainy season, which has been exceptionally heavy this year due to warm conditions over the Bight of Benin. 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.
West Africa has a distinct two season climatic cycle, with a cool dry season during the northern winter when prevalent winds blow from the Sahara to the northeast, and a warm rainy season during the northern summer when prevalent winds blow from the Atlantic Ocean to the southwest. These warm winds from the Atlantic are laden with moisture, which can be lost rapidly when the air encounters cooler conditions, such as when it is pushed up to higher altitudes by the Jos Plateau of central Nigeria and Shebshi Mountains on the border with Cameroon.
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