4 April 2022
Praia de Itaguaçu: one of a series of destructive landslides in Brazil
On Saturday 2 April 2022 a series of landslides were triggered by heavy rainfall in the state of Rio de Janeiro in Brazil. In total 16 people are known to have died, the majority of whom lost their lives in landslides. The picture is a little confused at the moment, but reports include a mudslide in the town of Paraty, which killed two children and injured four people; another landslide in Paraty that killed a mother and seven of her children; and a landslide in the Monsuaba neighborhood of Angra dos Reis, which killed eight people, including four children. Three more people are missing in Monsuba. You will see that the total fatalities in the events described above is greater than the reported death toll, so I await greater clarity.
One major landslide occurred at Praia de Itaguaçu, a popular beach on Ilha Grande in Angra do Reis (note that there are several beaches with this name in Brazil). There are reports that four people may have been killed. There is a video taken from a boat showing the aftermath of this large landslide that has been widely tweeted, such as below:-
Impressionante | Um deslizamento de terra atingiu a Praia de Itaguaçu em Ilha Grande, Angra dos Reis. A faixa de areia do local desapareceu após queda da barreira. Ainda não há informações de feridos. #sbtrio #sbt pic.twitter.com/xrSdpSIgOL
— SBT Rio (@sbtrio) April 2, 2022
This includes the following view of the landslide:-
Once again we await better imagery, which is likely to become available today, although further rain is forecast in this area.
Back in 2015, Sergio Sepulveda (now of Simon Fraser University) and I analysed data on landslides in Central and South America (Sepulveda and Petley 2015 – available open access). We noted that there are two annual peaks of landslides in South America, one in January and one in April. As such, these landslides fit the annual pattern, but the current La Nina conditions may be playing a role in intensifying the rainfall that has triggered this most recent series of disasters.
Sepulveda, S.A. and Petley, D.N. 2015. Regional trends and controlling factors of fatal landslides in Latin America and the Caribbean. Natural Hazards and Earth System Sciences, 15, 1821-1833, doi: 10.5194/nhess-15-1821-2015.