5 November 2008

The cost of the Yunnan landslides

Posted by Dave Petley

On a day when a different type of landslide is dominating the news (a happy end to the possibility of four more years of an anti-science administration in the White House), reports continue to come in about the disastrous landslides in Yunnan Province in China on Sunday. Usually it is very difficult to get an estimate of the real costs of landslides, but Xinhua has provided an unusual level of detail:

Number of fatalities: 40
Number of missing people: 43
Number injured: 10
Number of people affected: 1.27 million
Number of people moved from their homes: 60,800
Number of houses destroyed: >1,500
Number of houses damaged: 15,000
Surface area of crops destroyed: 9,000 hectares
Economic costs: $86.6 million
Costs of relief work: $1.9 million from central government and $1.46 million from local government.

To put those economic costs in perspective, this report suggests that the average per capita income for rural households in China in 2008 is $580.

Reuters image showing residents clearing the ruins of their destroyed houses after a rain-triggered mudslide hit a village of Xudian County