5 February 2011
Global deaths from landslides in 2010 (updated to include a comparison with previous years)
Posted by Dave Petley
NB: I have updated this post this morning to include some data on losses from previous years.
I have finally managed to process the 2010 data in my database on lives lost from landslides around the world. This post presents a summary of the findings.
First, the overall picture. In total I recorded 6,211 deaths in 494 landslide events. This is lower than in some previous years because of the lack of large-scale, landslide-triggering earthquakes. However, in terms of rainfall-induced events this was a bad year. This is illustrated by the two graphs below. On the left is the total fatalities that I have recorded from 2003 to 2010, including losses from landslides triggered by earthquakes. On the right is the same data but with the two huge landslide-inducing earthquakes (2005 Kashmir and 2008 Wenchuan) removed:
In total I have recorded 83,275 deaths from landslides since September 2002, a devastating total. It is also interesting to note that my data continue to record an increasing trend in the number of non-seismically induced landslides that kill people. Whilst an element of this may be associated with improved data, my interpretation is that this does reflect a real increase in the number of landslides occurring worldwide. This is clearly a worrying trend:
The largest event in terms of lives lost was the Zhouqu landslide in China on 8th August (pictured to the right), which killed 1765 people. Other very large events were the 2nd March Bududa landslide (358 deaths); the 6th April Morrao de Bubma landslide in Niteroi, Brazil (196 deaths); the 7th August debris flows in Leh, India (234 deaths); and the 4th October Wasior landslide in West Papua, Indonesia (145 deaths).
The global data that I collect typically shows a peak in the northern hemisphere summer (July and August) and a minimum in December. This year was no exception, as the graph, which plots the number of recorded landslides that killed one or more people, through the year in pentads (five day blocks):
In terms of geographic distribution, the two pie charts below show the continents with the greatest impacts. The chart on the left shows the number of landslides, whilst the one on the right shows the fatalities. As usual Asia dominates. This year the number of events and deaths was greatest in East Asia; in some years this is in South Asia.
Naturally the dominance of E. Asia this year reflects the very serious landslide problems in China. Unsurprisingly then China was the most seriously impacted nation:
This chart shows, using the bars and the left axis, the number of deaths for the 15 nations with the largest impacts, in rank order from left to right. The line graph shows the number of fatality-inducing landslides recorded in each country (right axis).
Unfortunately, the heavy rains in Brazil, Sri Lanka and the Philippines mean that 2011 has started badly as well.
Comments, thoughts and corrections welcome.
Hello I am a brazilian this begin of the year was terrible for us about landslides. Very nice job, congratulations. I am translate your post to put in my blog here in Brazil. Very informative. Thank you very much. With the best and kind regards,
Sergio Sacani Sancevero
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Been following your blog for a while! It’s great!
On the last chart of this entry, it might also be interested to normalize the data by population.
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Hello Dr Dave,
Thanks for posting very useful information. Can you please shad some light on the graph showing the “increasing trend in the number of non-seismically induced landslides that kill people”. you mentioned “an element of this may be associated with improved data, my interpretation is that this does reflect a real increase in the number of landslides occurring worldwide”. Increase in population can be another possible reason. What are the other possible reasons?
Very interesting results.
May you post what are the sources of your database.
[…] to some readers of this blog to post some of the charts here as the data that Dave released on his blog is startling to say the least. While the total number of deaths caused by landslides in 2010 is […]
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