Awareness Emergency

Landslides

Landslides are one of the many disasters that Papua New Guinea faces during heavy rains or earthquakes.

Geographically positioned in a tectonically-active region, with a tropical climate experiencing rainfall all year round, PNG is prone to natural disasters, and while they are inevitable, the intensity of those disasters can be lowered by creating a level of awareness, and resilience in communities.

Understanding Landslides:

  • Landslides may occur on weak structured steep mountains, resulting from continuous rain, or from a very strong earthquake.

It is important to take note of areas that may pose as risk zones such as:

  • an area that has previously experienced landslides
  • the base of steep mountains or slopes
  • the base of minor drainage basins
  • the top part or the bottom of an old ‘fill slope’
  • the top part or the bottom of a steep ‘cut slope’

What you can do to prevent yourself from being a victim of a landslide:

  • keep up to date with your local weather so to know when to expect heavy rainfalls that may cause landslides.
  • avoid building homes or gardens at the foot of steep slopes/mountain edges, near drainage ways or natural erosion valleys.
  • consult your Provincial Disaster Centers to get information on which areas in your province are risk areas. Usually the ones that have previously experienced landslides are the ones to look out for.
  • Understand the land around which you live in so that you know the type of risk you are faced with when disaster strikes.
  • Draw out an emergency plan for you and your family/community to assist in times of emergency– making sure that all members understand the procedure.
  • Pay attention to the water runoff (drainage) around your area.
  • Always be emergency ready by having a kit packed with necessary aid– better to be prepared than sorry.

During a Landslide:

  • Evacuate as soon as possible. Don’t delay! Save yourself, not your belongings
  • If you are in a landslide risk zone, always be alert and keep awake during strong earthquakes or heavy rains – many deaths occur while people are sleeping.
  • check local radio or media stations that may provide any advisory measures.
  • Listen for any unusual sounds that might indicate moving debris; such as trees cracking, or rocks knocking against each other. A trickle of flowing or falling mud or debris may precede larger landslides. Moving debris can flow quickly and sometimes without warning.
  • If you are near a stream or channel, be alert for any sudden increase or decrease in water flow and for a change from clear to muddy water. Such changes may indicate landslide activity upstream, so be prepared to move quickly.
  • Keep in mind that earthquakes can intensify the landslide so take extra precaution.
  • If you evacuated your home, DO NOT RETURN unless authorities advice that it is OK to do so.

After a Landslide:

  • Check if a member of the community needs help. If they are trapped in debris, DO NOT attempt to remove them yourself. Notify the rescuers without delay or go get help.
  • Look for and report broken utility lines such as power lines to appropriate authorities.
  • Replant over damaged ground as soon as possible since erosion caused by loss of ground cover can lead to flash flooding.

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