9 July 2014

Shawa village: a significant mudslide in China

Posted by Dave Petley

Shawa village mudslide

The landslide season across Asia has got off to an unusually slow start, with the number of events being notably lower than is usually the case in July.  This may well be associated with the potential development of El Nino conditions, which sometimes suppresses both the SW monsoon across South Asia and the occurrence of tropical cyclones in the North-West Pacific.  However, the signs are that the true landslide season may be about to start.  The enormous Typhoon Neoguri will strike Japan over the next couple of days, bringing very heavy rainfall.  Some landslides are inevitable, though the high rate of movement of the storm may prevent the very large rainfall totals that these events sometimes bring.

In China, reports today suggest that a large mudslide has occurred in Shawa village, which is located in Fugong County of Yunnan province.  Xinhua has a brief report, which indicates that 17 people are missing.  The caveat here of course that there must be some uncertainty about that total.

I haven’t been able to find Shawa village, but this is a Google Earth image of Fugong, the county town:

Shawa village

Google Earth perspective view of Fugong County


This is the sort of landscape in which landslides are an inevitable and frequent process.