1 April 2011

A large landslide in Thailand

Posted by Dave Petley

Over the last few days torrential rainfall has affected parts of Thailand, causing very substantial levels of damage.  The NASA TRMM satellite has captured some good data on the location and extent of this rainfall event, which is nicely described in this article from PhysOrg.  The rainfall extent is clear from the image below from that article:

Landslides appear to have been triggered quite extensively.  The largest seems to have occurred at Ban Ton Harn in Khao Phanom district of Krabi province, where a large and highly energetic debris flow has destroyed the village.  The final toll from the landslide is a little unclear, with estimates varying substantially, but five people have been confirmed as having been killed.  The Bangkok Post has an impressive gallery of images of the landslide, of which these two are probably the most startling:

The size of the boulders here is clearly notable; given that the village was directly struck by the event, the death toll seems surprisingly low.  A more detailed description of losses across Thailand from this heavy rainfall event is provided in this article, which indicates that more than 800,000 people have been affected, and 13 killed.

Of course, once again the UK media have focused on tourists having their holidays ruined.