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National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Centre (Ministry of Social Security, National Solidarity and Environment and Sustainable Development)

Landslide

Note:
(i) The following advice is based upon best available information. However, all emergency situations are fluid and may produce unexpected events. The priority in emergency situations is to protect yourself and your family. These advisory pages are intended only as guidance to help you prepare. In the event of facing immediate danger, protecting yourself and your family is always the first priority.
(ii) Lists provided for emergency and evacuation kits are not exhaustive and will depend upon the circumstances of the individual(s).
 
Landslides can occur in many areas and can be caused by a variety of factors including earthquakes, storms, fire and human modification of land. Landslides can occur quickly, often with little notice and the best way to prepare is to stay informed about changes in and around your home that could signal that a landslide is likely to occur.
 
In a landslide, masses of rock, earth or debris move down a slope. Debris and mud flows are rivers of rock, earth and other debris saturated with water. They develop when water rapidly accumulates in the ground, during heavy rainfall, changing the earth into a flowing river of mud or “slurry.” They can flow rapidly, striking with little or no warning at avalanche speeds. They also can travel several miles from their source, growing in size as they pick up trees, boulders, cars and other materials. Landslides can also block watercourses, causing a build-up of water behind them that can burst through suddenly. Watch for sudden changes in water levels and move to a safe area if necessary.
 There are three identified potential landslide areas in Mauritius: Quatre Soeurs, Vallee Pitot and Chitrakoot. In these areas specific landslide monitoring equipment has been installed and the community sensitised. Warning and Evacuation stages in these areas are as follows:
 
Area Name
Stage 1: Warning Stage
Stage 2: Evacuation Stage
Ri1
(Rainfall [mm/hour] observed by inhabitants)
Rm1
(Rainfall [mm/hour] observed by MMS)
E1
(Displacement of ground [mm/day] observed by MPI)
Ri2
(Rainfall [mm/hour] observed by inhabitants)
Rm2
(Rainfall [mm/hour] observed by MMS)
E2d
(Displacement of ground [mm/day] observed by MPI)
E2h
(Displacement of ground [mm/hour] observed by MPI)
Chitrakoot
75
75
2
100
100
10
2
Quatre Soeurs
100
100
2
200
200
10
2
Vallée Pitot
75
75
2
100
100
10
2

 

Landslides can potentially occur in other areas also so if you live in a steep area it is worth being familiarising yourself the warning signs for landslides and what to do:
Be Prepared
·         To begin preparing, you should build an      emergency kit and make a list of essential telephone numbers.
·         Prepare for landslides by following proper land-use procedures - avoid building near steep slopes, close to mountain edges, near drainage ways or along natural erosion valleys.
·         Become familiar with the land around you. Learn whether debris flows have occurred in your area. Slopes where debris flows have occurred in the past are likely to experience them in the future.
·         Protect your property by planting ground cover on slopes and building retaining walls.
·         Learn about local emergency response and evacuation plans. Discuss what to do if a landslide occurs with your family. Create an evacuation plan.
·         Assemble and maintain an emergency evacuation kit.
 

If you suspect a landslide is imminent

·         If you suspect imminent danger, evacuate immediately. Inform affected neighbors if you can, and contact your local district authority, fire or police department.
·         Listen for unusual sounds that might indicate moving debris, such as trees cracking or boulders knocking together.
·         If you are near a stream or channel, be alert for any sudden increase or decrease in water flow and notice whether the water changes from clear to muddy. Such changes may mean there is debris flow activity upstream so be prepared to move quickly.
·         Be especially alert if driving— watch for collapsed pavement, road, mud, fallen rocks and other indications of possible debris flow. If danger is imminent, quickly move from the path of the slide. Getting out of the path of a debris flow is your best protection. Move to the nearest high ground in a direction away from the path of the slide. If debris is approaching, run for the nearest shelter and take cover (if possible, under a table, desk or other sturdy furniture).
·         Do not cross flooded areas, whether driving or on foot. Turn around and find an alternative route.
·         Inform affected neighbours. Your neighbours may not be aware of potential hazards. Advising them of a potential threat may help save lives. Help neighbours who may need assistance to evacuate.
 
Landslide Warning Signs 
·         Springs, seeps, or saturated ground in areas that have not typically been wet before.  
·         New cracks or unusual bulges in the ground, street pavements or roads.   
·         Soil moving away from foundations.   
·         Ancillary structures such as decks and patios tilting and/or moving relative to the main house.   
·         Tilting or cracking of concrete floors and foundations.  
·         Broken water lines and other underground utilities.  
·         Leaning telephone poles, trees, retaining walls or fences.   
·         Sunken or down-dropped road beds.   
·         Rapid increase in creek water levels, possibly accompanied by increased turbidity (soil content).  
·         Sudden decrease in creek water levels though rain is still falling or just recently stopped.  
·         Sticking doors and windows, and visible open spaces indicating jambs and frames out of alignment.  
·         A faint rumbling sound that increases in volume is noticeable as the landslide nears.  
·         Unusual sounds, such as trees cracking or boulders knocking together, might indicate moving debris.

During Severe Storms & Heavy Rainfall

·      Stay alert and awake if in an area prone to or at risk of landslides. Many deaths from landslides occur while people are sleeping.
·      Listen to local radio for warnings of heavy rainfall. Be aware that intense, short bursts of rain may be particularly dangerous, especially after longer periods of heavy rainfall and damp weather.
·      Consider leaving if it is safe to do so.

After a Landslide

·   Stay away from the slide area. There may be danger of additional landslides.
·   Check for injured and trapped persons near the landslide, without entering the direct slide area. Direct rescuers to their locations.
·   Help a neighbor who may require special assistance–infants, elderly people, and people with disabilities. Elderly people and people with disabilities may require additional assistance. People who care for them or who have large families may need additional assistance in emergency situations.
·   Listen to local radio or television stations for the latest emergency information.
·   Watch for flooding, which may occur after a landslide or debris flow. Floods sometimes follow landslides and debris flows because they may both be started by the same event.
·   Look for and report broken utility lines to appropriate authorities. Reporting potential hazards will get the utilities turned off as quickly as possible, preventing further hazard and injury.
·   Check building foundations and surrounding land for damage. Damage to foundations or surrounding land may help you assess the safety of the area.

 

·      Where there is ground that has been damaged by a landslide, it is sensible to plant new trees and plants on the bare earth as soon as possible. Erosion caused by the destruction of covering plant life can lead to flash flooding in some areas.