Friday, 17 April 2009

Landslides

Sixteen people – including nine children - have been killed by a landslide in the Central Asian republic of Kyrgyzstan. It struck a village in the south of the country after heavy rains, though overgrazing of mountain slopes is also thought to have contributed to the disaster.

Probably the deadliest landslide in history was the one that struck Venezuela’s coastal areas in December 1999. Torrential rain caused flash floods and mudslides, and the shanty towns that clung to the steep escarpments around the capital Caracas were simply washed away. More than 20,000 homes were destroyed, and 140,000 people made homeless, as President Chavez used his own residence to house children who had lost their parents. The death toll was estimated at about 30,000.

Another dreadful landslide struck the Khait area of another Central Asian country, Tajikistan in 1949. Details are sparse, but there are claims that 33 villages were destroyed and up to 28,000 people killed.

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