1 October 2008

September 2008 fatal landslide map

Posted by Dave Petley

For the first time in recorded history the monthly fatal landslide map is actually on time!

Below is the map for September 2008. First the statistics:
Number of recorded fatal landslides: 59
Number of recorded fatalities: 1290

September has been a quite bizarre month, with fatal landslides occurring at a level that is much higher than expected. As such this continues the trend for August, which was also above average, but it bucks the trend for the rest of the year. At present I am not sure of the reason for this change – that will require some considerable analysis. It is very interesting indeed.

Comparison with previous years is difficult. In 2004 there were catastrophic landslides in Haiti that killed three thousand people. If this is included then the average across the period 2002-2007 is 808 – high, but still much less than in 2008. Excluding that single event in Haiti yields an average of 202 people. Note that 550 of the fatalities in 2008 were also in Haiti due to mudflows created by two tropical cyclones. Other large events were the Manshiyet Nasser landslide in Cairo, Egypt (107 fatalities) and the Shanxi flowslide (270 deaths).

So, here is the map for September 2008. As ever, you will need to click on the map to get a decent view of it:

A few things to note:

  1. The very strong cluster along the Himalayan Arc is once again very evident. Nepal in particular is suffering an intense period of landslides.
  2. There is also a clear cluster in the Caribbean as the Hurricane season continues to have a high impact. Note that in Haiti the cluster is a multiple event.

The map of the year to date is shown below. Again, click on the map for a decent view. The normal clusters are now well developed. Compare this map with that from 2007 (see here). The similarity between the two patterns is now very clear.

As usual I welcome any comments, corrections and clarifications.