8 November 2009

Reports of a very large landslide tragedy at San Vicente volcano in El Salvador caused by Hurricane Ida?

Posted by Dave Petley

It is becoming clear that Hurricane Ida has wreaked havoc in El Salvador over the last 48 hours, with many landslides. Over 100 people are known to have been killed, with the toll expected to rise over the next few days as more remote areas resume contacts. Intriguingly, the El Salvador news site ElSalvador.com has a report on the disaster here. It reports:

“Según los últimos reportes, en Verapaz, en las faldas del volcán de San Vicente, un alud ha cubierto un área de ocho kilómetros aproximadamente. El panorama es sombrío: Grandes rocas y árboles se observan por todos lados, por lo que la movilización es difícil. La tierra ha cubierto colonias enteras. Familiares y socorristas buscan desesperadamente a las víctimas. Testigos afirman que la tragedia es similar a la que ocurrió en Las Colinas, Santa Tecla, en 2001 cuando el país fue afectado por un terremoto.”

This roughly translates as:

According to recent reports, in Verapaz, in the foothills of the San Vicente volcano, a landslide has covered an area of eight kilometres. The outlook is grim: Large rocks and trees are found everywhere, so that mobilization is difficult. The earth has covered entire colonies. Relatives and rescuers desperately looking for victims. Witnesses say the tragedy is similar to what occurred in Las Colinas, Santa Tecla, in 2001 when the country was affected by an earthquake.”

The Santa Tecla landslide killed about 600 people.

I have no way to validate or refute this report at this time, so let’s hope that this report is erroneous. This is a Google Earth perspective view of the volcano in question, San Vicente:

I will post again when information becomes available.