28 August 2020
Devastating debris flows in Charikar, Afghanistan
Whilst the world’s attention has been focused on the impacts of Hurricane Laura in the USA, a far more deadly disaster has occurred in Afghanistan. On Tuesday 25 August 2020 deadly debris flows struck the community of Charikar in Afghanistan. Unfortunately, as is common for such events, these events have been reported to be either floods or flash floods, but the images suggest that they were debris flows. There is considerable uncertainty about the number of fatalities, but at least 100 died in Charikar and the total death toll in the wider area is reported to be at least 162 people.
As yet I have not been able to track down a good overview image of the site of this disaster. This image, posted to Twitter by Salaamedia, shows the scale of the event:-
The image below, also posted to Twitter by Salaamedia, shows the nature of the deposits left by the debris flows:-
A quick look at the Google Earth imagery demonstrates clearly why Charikar is so seriously affected by debris flows:-
The town is clearly built on a set of large fans emerging from steep, rugged and tectonically active mountains. This environment is tailor-made for debris flows, especially, as is likely, rainfall intensity is increasing in response to global heating.
Quickslide 1: The history of landslides at Rest and Be Thankful
The BBC has a very nice piece today reviewing the long history of significant landslides at the A83 at Rest and Be Thankful. There is increasing pressure in Scotland to find a permanent solution, but this is likely to be extremely expensive.
Quickslide 2: Thypoon Bavi
Meanwhile, on the other side of the world, Typhoon Bavi has made landfall on the Korean peninsula. Some damage is reported in South Korea, but the main impacts will have been in North Korea. It is of course extremely difficult to get information about the resulting impacts, but landslides are likely to have occurred.