2 February 2022
The disastrous 31 January 2022 mudflow in the La Gasca suburb of Quito, Ecuador
On 31 January 2022 heavy rainfall triggered a disastrous mudflow in the La Gasca suburb of Quito in Ecuador. There is a detailed set of articles about this event on the El Comercio news website. In an article posted yesterday it records the losses as 24 known fatalities, a further 12 people missing and 48 people injured. This is likely to be updated during the day today.
Extremely heavy, short duration rainfall (7.5 cm in one hour has been reported) was the trigger for the mudflow. The Google Earth image below shows the La Gasca suburb and the local topography:-
The mudflow has clearly originated on the steep slopes and channels above the city. The elevation difference between the peak and La Gasca is over 1,000 m.
There is dramatic footage of the event as it occurred on Youtube, some of which makes uncomfortable viewing. The footage below gives an idea of the nature of the event:-
There is also drone footage of the aftermath:-
The image below gives an impression of the scale of the damage:-
Interestingly, this area appears to have been affected by a similar mudflow on 25 February 1975, when a mudflow originated from the Pambachupa ravine, affecting the La Mariscal neighbourhood, close to La Gasca. On that occasion two people were killed and a further five were injured.
Perhaps surprisingly, the municipal authorities have ruled out deforestation as being a factor in this event.