70% of the country has a high risk of landslides


In at least 15 of the 18 departments of Honduras, after being whipped by the hurricane Eta and the tormenta tropical Iota, present geological conditions that cause landslides or landslides that have already caused the death of about 13 people.

With the exception of Gracias a Dios, Islas de la Bahía and Comayagua, which have low and medium risks, respectively, in the other departments there are high probabilities for a landslide to occur, according to the online tool ThinkHazard !, created by Global Fund for Disaster Reduction and Recovery (GFDRR) and the world Bank (BM).

This week eight people were killed by a landslide in San Manuel Colohete, a municipality of Lempira, a neighbor of Gracias, which has a high level of risk of landslides, and five more, including a four-month-old girl, died underground in Fraternidad, Ocotepeque, another municipality classified as high risk by ThinkHazard!

Javier in love, Mayor of Gracias, informed LA PRENSA newspaper that this week landslides occurred in this municipality “basically because it is a mountainous area, the amount of water that has fallen has been very strong and the soil has become more fragile”.

“We had landslides, hammock bridges lost, there is damage to the approaches to the Rio Grande bridge; walls and roofs of many houses are damaged, schools destroyed, drinking water systems collapsed. In Gracias we are without drinking water. The infrastructure was very affected, the secondary and tertiary roads affected ”, he said.

With the Iota rains, which saturated the soils that had been impregnated by Eta much more, around 70% of the Honduran territory has conditions so that at any moment masses of land can be detached from the slopes and slopes of the mountains, considering the latest map Possible landslide hazard: precipitation caused by the Pacific Disaster Center (PDC) with technology from National Aeronautics and Space Administration of the United States (Nasa).

In the last 15 days, according to the Permanent Commission on Contingencies (Copeco), there were 180 landslides (104 by Eta and 76 by Iota), an amount that exceeds the more than 120 registered between 2010 and 2015 by Landslide Viewer, the portal of the Open Cooperative Deposit in Line of Landslides (Coolr) from NASA.

Gerson Armando Valle, risk prevention officer of the Copeco Prevention Management Directorate, explained that the landslides observed during Hurricane Eta “mostly occurred in the Central District and in the west, while those caused by Iota in the western part of the country.”

“The factors that provoke these mass removals or cause a geodynamic activity are anthropogenic activities. What does this mean? That people, due to the need to have a property, a territory, make cuts on the slopes and slopes without any study.

The geological conditions, such as those we see in the Central District, which are quite precarious for the construction of houses. The hydrological conditions of the places contribute a percentage of importance for the mass removals to take place.

Another factor is the social conditions in which people find themselves, ”said Valle, a civil engineer with a master’s degree in Geotecnia with specialty in Geology.

Valle exemplified that “slopes that are too steep are fundamental for the unleashing of mass movements” such as those registered in San Manuel Colohete.

“If we look at the map of Honduras aerially, we see that the highest area is in the southwestern part (closer to Guatemala, in that area we have those high slopes, also in Francisco Morazán, El Paraíso and Santa Bárbara.


Those traveling on western roads must take action for collapsed walls.

These are areas susceptible to hillside movements, ”he said.

These days, masses of lands have been detached near some rural hamlets and on the banks and walls that flank the roads, as in the CA-5, in Santa Cruz de Yojoa, without causing deaths.

In La Fe, Santa Cruz de Yojoa, after an earthquake, an avalanche of earth yesterday destroyed six homes and left five damaged. Francisco Argeñal, boss Meteorology of the Center for Atmospheric, Oceanographic and Seismic Studies (Cenaos), warns that the risk of landslides in any part of the country will persist until the weekend as the rains continue.

11 houses damaged.

A landslide destroyed and damaged 11 homes in the village of La Fe, Santa Cruz de Yojoa

“There is still moisture trapped in the ground and that is going to continue to cause landslides. People who live in danger zones should be aware of that, ”he said in a telephone interview.

Because the two phenomena followed different trajectories in the region, the rainfall patterns of And and Iota also impacted differently in different departments.

“The rains of And they were between 4 and 5 days. While Iota of almost a day and a half of rain. It rained more with Eta on the Caribbean coast than with Iota. But in the west, center and east it rained more with Iota, because Iota passed as a tropical storm through Honduras, And it passed as a tropical depression, “he said.

Figures of Cenaos show that And it saturated the soil with much more water, as it produced accumulated rainfall that reached up to a maximum of 825 millimeters in some parts of Atlantis, while Iota only a maximum of 305 millimeters.


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