5 December 2010

Early reports of a serious landslide in Colombia

Posted by Dave Petley

Colombia is currently suffering from exceptional rainfall, inducing widespread flooding and disruption.  Yesterday a landslide occurred in the suburbs of Medellin in a very poor settlement called Bello, destroying a number of dwellings.  At the moment there appears to be great confusion as to the likely impact of the slide, with the reported number of buried people ranging from 50 to 200 or more.  The local national paper, El Tiempo, has a more considered report that includes eye-witness statements.  The gist of the article is that the slide destroyed a series of poorly constructed shanty type dwellings, burying the occupants.  The images, such as this one from the same source, support that report:

That report also includes two other intriguing nuggets.  The first is that the slide initiated in a garbage dump.  The images don’t support or refute this, although there certainly appears to be a substantial amount of earth in the slip.  The second is that precursory signs in the form of cracks were observed, and indeed a road was closed before the slide.