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Landslide disaster in the Philippines 17.02.06. Almost 2000 people may have lost their lives in a major landslide which has engulfed an entire village in the central Philippines. VV ‘06. The fluid character of the slide means that it is correctly termed a mudslide.

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Landslide disaster in the philippines 17 02 06

Landslide disaster in the Philippines 17.02.06

Almost 2000 people may have lost their lives in a major landslide which has engulfed an entire village in the central Philippines

VV ‘06

The Philippines are a group of islands (archipelago) which lie between China and Indonesia in the western Pacific Ocean.

Manilla is the capital city of the Philippines


The disaster occurred on the island of Leyte

Most of the dead are in the farming community of Guinsaugon in the south of Leyte island

In places the mud which engulfed the village and its hundreds of homes is tens of metres deep.

The mud, carrying stones and boulders, completely wiped out the village. Buildings, including a school, were completely buried.

This woman is one of very few who have pulled alive from the mud

The army have been mobilised to help

Why did this ‘slide’ happen? mud

In common with many landslides it can be explained by both physical and human factors

Physical factors
Physical factors mud

  • 200cm of rain fell in 10 days. This could be related to a La Nina event

  • Underlying rock is impermeable

  • Steep terrain increased the speed of the flow

  • The area sits on a geological fault

  • A mild earth tremor (Richter scale 2.5) was felt just before the slide

  • Coconut tress which clad the slopes are shallow rooted

Human factors
Human factors mud

  • There is a history of illegal logging in the area

  • Population pressures have led to upland areas being cleared for cultivation

  • Deforestation was therefore an important factor

  • Shallow rooted coconut palms have been widely planted

Rescue is difficult because
Rescue is difficult because…. mud

  • Heavy rain continues to fall

  • The area is remote and not easily reached by road

  • There have been further small landslides

  • The mud is dangerous to ‘work’ in

  • Relief helicopters cannot land nearby as their ‘downwash’ could trigger further slides

  • Buildings below the mud have been shifted by the slide

“Aid workers in the Philippines failed to find any more survivors on Saturday at the site of a village obliterated by a massive mudslide. “

BBC News Saturday, 18 February 2006, 15:53 GMT