28 September 2008

Updates on the Cairo and Shanxi landslides

Posted by Dave Petley

The search for victims in both the Manshiyet Nasser rockslide and Shanxi flowslide continues. The following is the latest news:

Manshiyet Nasser, Cairo

The number of recovered victims is now 107, with many more still believed to be trapped under the rubble. Clearly there are still extraordinary difficulties in getting beneath the large blocks. Interestingly, there is now a Quickbird image of the site, as highlighted by Almasry Alyoum. Below I have compared the before Google Earth image with the after Quickbird (click on the image for a better view – before in the left (Google Earth), after on the right (Quickbird)).

The Almasry article makes two interesting observations:

  1. Since the Quickbird imagery was collected on 18th September, no official body has requested or made use of the images;
  2. “The shots reveal that Muqattam Mountain may be vulnerable to other collapses, especially in its southern areas and in particular, its “Sharei tesa’ah” and “Maidan al-Naforah” areas, said geologist of the National Authority for Space Sciences Muhammad Naguib Hegazy”

There is also a nice article about the human aspect of vulnerability in shanty town here.

Shanxi flowslide

AP image of the landslide debris

There is a good article reviewing the causes of the Shanxi flowslide here. Interestingly it states that:

  1. The number of fatalities is now 265;
  2. The landslide was not associated with a spell of we weather. Indeed, “The whole county had received only a minimum rainfall amounting to 1.5 mm since the beginning of September, according to the Xiangfen bureau. This amount was not enough to sufficiently wet the ground, let alone cause a mudslide, said specialists at the China Meteorological Bureau.”