24 September 2013

Recent fatal landslides in the Philippines

Posted by Dave Petley

The West Pacific has been very disturbed over the last few days thanks to Typhoon Usagi, which has disrupted airflow patterns over a large area.  Although not struck directly by the storm, over the weekend Zambales in the Philippines suffered very heavy rainfall, triggering several very damaging landslides.  The Journal online has provided a report detailing the impacts, based on an army report:

  • In Sitio Pawen, Barangay Aglao, San Marcellino: four deaths from a single family;
  • In Barangay San Idriso, Subic: five deaths
  • In Barangay Cawag, near Barangay Wawandue, Subic: 10 confirmed deaths, six people missing and one person severely injured.  This landslide is shown in this image, from PhilStar.com:
13_09 Cawag 1



Landslide hazards in the Philippines remain exceptionally high.  The image above illustrates the extreme vulnerability of communities in upland areas to these events.  September and October are key landslide periods in this area, primarily because of the effects of late season typhoons.  Fortunately, at present no such systems are threatening the area.