Two people have confirmed dead and at eight more are missing following a landslide in the town of Retamas in Paraz Province in La Libertad Department, Peru, on Tuesday 15 March 2022. The deceased are described as an adult man and a one month old girl, with rescue workers believing the man died trying to protect the infant. Three of the missing persons are also reported to be children. The landslide is reported to have occurred following 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 town of Retamas is a mining community, and the area hit is reported to be one of unplanned housing, where poor mineworkers had cleared available land on the side of a hill in order to build their own homes. Such deforestation leaves soil exposed to heavy tropical rainfall, and therefore more vulnerable to landslips following heavy rainfall events.
Landslips are a common problem in the Peruvian Andes during the rainy season, which lasts from September till May, with peak rainfall between January and March. The climate is highly variable across this region, with some areas receiving in excess of 10 000 mm of rainfall per year.
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