Climate change will mean more landslides, experts warn
“Nearly 100 experts from 14 nations, representing scores of global institutions and governments, gathered at UN University in Tokyo January 18-20 to set international priorities for mitigating human and financial landslide losses and to promote a global network of International Programmes on Landslides. The meeting marks the first anniversary of the landmark UN World Conference on Disaster Reduction in Kobe, Japan.
Asia suffered 220 landslides in the past century - by far the most of any world region - but those in North, Central and South America have caused the most deaths and injuries (25,000+) while Europe’s are the most expensive causing average damage of almost $23 million per landslide.
And experts attending the Tokyo conference warned that climate change-related increases in the number and intensity of typhoons and hurricanes will produce in tandem a rising danger of landslides in future.
“Increasing rainfall intensities and frequencies, coupled with population growth can drastically increase landslide-associated casualties, especially in developing countries, where pressure on land resources often lead to slope cultivation and slope agriculture which are very much prone to landslide disasters,” according to the International Consortium on Landslides (ICL), United Nations University, Kyoto University and UNESCO scientists organizing the three-day international meeting on landslide prevention and damage mitigation.
Climate change may promote landslides in other ways as well. A December landslide that claimed 60 lives in Yemen was blamed on mountain boulders shifting due to changes in temperature. Other landslide inducements include earthquakes, volcanic eruption, poorly planned developments, and mining.”