18 June 2012

48 deaths resulting from a leaking pipe?

Posted by Dave Petley

In November 2011 a landslide occurred in the city of Manizales in Colombia, resulting in the loss of 48 people in a poor suburb.  Pictures from the site showed the catastrophic impact of this landslide on this densely inhabited urban area:

Over the weekend Colombia Reports posted an article that reported the provided the outcome of an investigation of the causes of the landslide, undertaken by the Colombian engineering firm Acuaservicios Engineering Solutions.  I have no way of being able to assess the quality or validity of this work, but the report notes that the landslide was probably caused by a leaking pipe that saturated the mountainside.

Investigators have discovered that a leaking pipe caused a landslide that killed 48 people in the city of Manizales in central Colombia in November 2011, local media reported Thursday.  Interestingly the report also notes that local people sought help before the disaster because they were aware of the presence of more water than usual, but they were apparently ignored.

Leaking pipes are commonly the cause of large landslides, especially where weak materials are present.