16 December 2007

Vietnam landslide

Posted by Dave Petley

There are newswire reports of a nasty landslide in central Vietnam. The reports suggest that this was a rockslide in the morning of 15th December in Tuong Duong district of central Nghe An province triggered by quarrying as part of a hydroelectric powerplant scheme. The number of workers buried is 18. Looking at the picture available here there is little chance of any survivors. The unfortunate victims appear to all have been workers on the powerplant.

Reports on 16th December suggest that the landslide had a volume of about 500,000 cubic metres, burying the victims to a depth of between 30 and 50 m. It is unsurprising then that only three bodies have been recovered to date.

Update (18th December): Thanh Nien reports that eight bodies have now been recovered, but that the rescue operations are proving to be difficult and hazardous. No clear cause of the collapse is evident but “Workers speculated Saturday that an explosion carried out on Friday might have weakened the mountain’s structure and caused the landslide, but their theory has yet to be verified or disproved”. Certainly poorly planned and/or executed blasting can be the cause of collapses, so it will be interesting to hear whether this is the case here.