Saturday, August 19, 2017

Increasing Incidences of Mudslides/Landslides and Global Warming

Are Increasing Incidences of Mudslides/Landslides the consequence of Global Warming?

ICMS, Inc Reports
Tom Okure, Ph.D


Mudslides and landslides are a natural phenomenon but are increasingly frequent, perhaps as a result of increasing and more intensive rains, overflowing rivers and earthquakes around the globe. 

Mudslide in Freetown, Sierra Leone-August 2017
There is a growing general consensus among scientist and climate experts that the earth is warming and producing adverse climatic and weather effects. 

This year 2017, has witnessed more than its fair share of mudslides/landslides which has racked havoc on lives and property in many countries and all continents of the world including Southern California, Southwest Colombia, Lima Peru, Xinmo village in Sichuan Province China, Sierra Leone, Sri Lanka, Democratic Republic of Congo, India, Napal etc.

California, USA Mudslide-January 2017 
Landslides are activated by gravity and intensifies by heavy rainfall after a dry weather period in which the ground in a hill or mountainside can suddenly become saturated with water. An over saturated ground generally becomes waterlogged and soil friction is loosened. Eventually, the ground gives way and mudslides can rapidly develop and speed up with heavy debris merged with huge rocks which can inflict severe damage.

Lima, Peru Mudslide - March 2017
The severity in terms of the cost to life and property of the incidences of mudslides/landslides are huge. 
In many developing countries like Sierra Leone, Napal, Peru etc this year, the scale of these natural disasters has been so overwhelming for many countries to handle alone. Help is needed from other countries and international charitable organizations to donate funds needed to buy food, water, and basic necessities, which are distributed to families affected and displaced with the most needs In many of these devastating events, houses and towns/villages that surround mountain and hillsides slopes are typically buried after gushes of mud empty down under the powerful force of the water. 
Columbia Mudslide-April 2017
The aftermath of these events that we are witnessing globally are heavy death toll, mass funerals, mass displacements of residents from familiar surroundings, serious health consequences, many unaccounted for people which in many occasions are forever lost etc.

It is difficult to tell people who have historically lived around the slopes of mountains and hills to move. There are also people, especially wealthy individuals in many countries who purposely decide to build their homes around mountains and hillsides because of the scenic beauty etc. 

Sri Lanka Mudslide-May 2017
The recent mudslide in Sierra Leone in West Africa which has killed close to 500 hundred people has been blamed on many factors including heavy rains due to global warming, deforestation of the hillside by residents for firewood and charcoal etc. Freetown where the mudslide took place is notorious for clogged drainage channels like many other cities in Africa because of garbage dumping due to insufficient sanitation services in many areas.

Nevertheless, as these events continue to increase globally, and we all internalize the fact that global warming and earthquakes are real and intensifying in their effects, this writer concludes with the note that sound minded people should avoid building or residing near mountain or hill sides for their own safety.

Read More: