What is a landslide?



A landslide is the downward movement of soil, mud and rocks along a hill slope. This movement can be slow and gradual or very rapid.
When sliding down a hill, this material sweeps away trees and buries everything found in its path.

Why do landslides occur?

Landslides are almost always caused by human actions, but nature also contributes. The following are some of the causes:

Deforestation on hill or mountain slopes.
Crop planting practices that are not suitable for hills (for example, sowing on slopes).
Housing construction or settlement of entire communities on hill slopes.
Heavy rainfall for many days.
Highways and roads cuts into the side of mountains.


How can we prevent landslides?

Plant trees on hill slopes. Plant roots help keep the land from crumbling and absorb water.
Plant crops in terraces, following the natural curves of the land.
Avoid populating hill slopes, or respect existing vegetation.


How to cope with landslides?

Before a landslide
Build houses in safe places. Do not build them on eroded soil or on wet hill slopes.
Take care of forests. They improve soil firmness and protect soil against erosion.
Do not burn vegetation as a crop-planting technique. This practice causes the destruction of the vegetation layer of land, erodes
soil and may produce widespread fires.
Avoid using grazing land excessively. Periodically take cattle from one place to another to avoid exhausting land properties and
prevent soil from eroding.
Have emergency equipment ready, which must include first-aid kits, a radio, flashlights, batteries, blankets, matches and candles,
among others.

During a landslide
Remain calm at all times. Promptly evacuate to previously established locations and make sure that each family member brings
only what is needed. Do not forget I.D. cards.
Help others if possible.

After a landslide
The Civil Defense or Protection Committee of your community will carry out a technical inspection of houses in order to determine
which may be inhabited again.
This committee will also organize all efforts needed to reestablish basic services such as water supply and road repairs.

 

Bibliographical references

1. Sistema Nacional de Defensa Civil, Perú. "Deslizamientos". Lima, Perú.
2. Acción Médica Cristiana. "Deslaves: es mejor prevenir". Nicaragua, Octubre 1999.