Southern Leyte 2006 landslide case study

Case study on the Southern Leyte 2006 landslide, including:

  • Cause
  • Effects
  • Rescue/Relief
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At about 10:30 in the morning on February 17, 2006, a cliff face of a ridge straddling the
Philippine Fault collapsed in a combination rockslidedebris avalanche event,
translocating and subsequently burying Guinsaugon village in the town of Saint Bernard,
but Guinsaugon was the worsthit community.
There was an initial suggestion that the cause of the landslide was logging and mining
done in the area 3 decades ago. However, local government officials said that the area
was well forested and deforestation logging activities were not the casual factor.
Experts came to the conclusion that torrential rains lasting 2 weeks before the mudslide
was the main cause for the disaster. Rainfall amounting to over 200cm in 10 days
loosened the soil so much that the resulting sludge and rocks thundered down the
slopes of nearby Mount Canabag, virtually disintegrating it. In addition, the Philippine
institute of Volcanology and Seismology recorded a magnitude 2.6 earthquake in
Southern Leyte just prior the landslide, and although the effects of this are unclear, if the
soils of the slope were battered by rain for the passed 2 weeks, then any movement
could have caused the mud to slide easily. A final cause that has said to be a
contributing factor were the coconut trees, which only had very shallow roots. The
shallow rooted coconut tree would not be as effective at counteracting the gravitational
pull of the rainfall, but yet would contribute to the weight of the slope.
View of the Southern Leyte's landslides Toe Landslide body from crown
One of the main effects of the landslide was that a local elementary school was buried
beneath mud when all the children were in school. At the time, the school had 246
students and 7 teachers and only 1 child and an adult was rescued immediately after
the disaster occurred. There were no signs of life after the mudslide. Rescue attempts
were made worse due to the thick mud and blocked roads, collapsed bridges and
Chris Cartwright ­ AS Geography Column 5 ­ 2nd November 2009

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Many residents were also buried alive, because although
they initially moved away from the area due to the torrential rains and fear of a landslide,
they returned after the rains had eased and therefore would have been present when the
landslide occurred. A final point to add to the effects is that about 80 women who
participated in the celebration of the 5th anniversary of the Guinsaugon Women's Health
Association were lost in the landslide.…read more


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