Why is Colombia being hit by lethal landslides?

Aerial view of the in depth injury brought on by mudslides because of heavy rains,

It begins with torrential rain within the mountains. Then a wall of mud and boulders comes barreling down the slopes, sweeping away homes, automobiles and other people.

Like a video caught on repeat, the story has performed out time and again in current weeks in South America, the place lots of of individuals have been killed in landslides.

First they hit Peru, the place the indigenous Quechua language has a phrase for these flash flood-landslides: “huaycos.”

Greater than one hundred individuals have been killed because the begin of the yr in flooding and landslides in Peru, and greater than one hundred,000 have misplaced houses or in any other case been affected.

In Colombia, the devastation is even worse.

The southern city of Mocoa was hit by an unlimited landslide Friday that killed 262 individuals, together with forty three youngsters.


Why do these pure disasters happen? And why is South America being hit so arduous proper now?

“Nature has all the time been like this. Our ancestors understood it higher than we do at present,” stated Peruvian architect Augusto Ortiz de Zevallos.

“Simply take a look at the archaeological websites that stay, sheltered from the onslaught of water,” he informed AFP.

Modernization has led to forests being changed by farms, eliminating the pure limitations that restrain the water from torrential rains.

“In the course of the (floods) of 2010 and 2011… seventy one % of the flooding occurred in pasture land that had misplaced its timber,” the top of the climate warning system for the Colombian meteorological institute, Christian Euscategui, informed newspaper El Tiempo.

Colombia’s climate authorities, who hold an in depth eye on deforestation, say it slowed by 12 % in 2015. However that also meant forest losses of greater than 124,000 hectares (475 sq. miles).

– ‘Nature does not forgive’ –

International warming, which is melting the area’s glaciers, can also be driving the issue.

“Local weather change is producing dynamics and we see the super outcomes when it comes to depth, frequency and magnitude of those pure results, as we have now simply seen in Mocoa,” stated Martin Santiago, UN chief for Colombia.

Specialists say chaotic urbanization can also be accountable.


Mocoa’s inhabitants was swollen by poor migrants and particularly individuals uprooted by Colombia’s half-century civil warfare.

These displaced residents and their typically precarious homes have been hit particularly exhausting by the catastrophe.

“The centralization of society means individuals attempt to transfer nearer to cities, regardless of the place it’s, with out contemplating whether or not a river used to stream there or if it is a ravine the place rain accumulates,” stated architect Ortiz de Zevallos.

Within the case of Mocoa, the city “was the sufferer of a scarcity of city planning,” stated Colombian ecologist Rodrigo Botero.

“That is the case in almost each area of Colombia.”

Even Mocoa’s personal mayor, Jose Antonio Castro, stated it “just isn’t a spot the place a city ought to be,” due to all of the rivers surrounding it.

Three of them flooded Friday, triggering the landslide.

Within the Peruvian capital Lima — additionally hit exhausting lately by flooding and landslides — Mayor Luis Castaneda stated nature “received the higher of engineering.”

However that misses the entire level, stated Ortiz de Zevallos.

“Engineering is about understanding nature,” like the traditional Incas did, stated the architect.

The bishop of Mocoa, Luis Maldonado, had his personal take when requested if God had deserted the city’s individuals.

“God all the time forgives, man typically does, however nature does not forgive,” he stated.

The above submit is reprinted from AFP


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