Leyte Landslides

Leyte landslides bury village. As many as 3,000 may have been killed. This keeps happening. With large swaths of the island deforested by unchecked logging, populated areas are prone to flash flooding and mudslides caused by loose earth and disrupted watersheds. Every time it happens, the usual things happen, fingers pointed, blame assigned, promises made: “It’s the fault of illegal logging, prosecute loggers, protect our towns,” and then nothing is done — just like in 1991 and 2003.

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Update: Marines now helping in rescue efforts. Article includes a map of the affected area in the context of the Philippines.

From the 20 Feb 2006 Philippine Star editorial:

Guinsaugon, experts say, was a disaster waiting to happen. The slopes surrounding the valley where the village is nestled were denuded decades ago, leaving the soil prone to erosion. The valley tends to trap rain clouds, and Saint Bernard town where Guinsaugon is located is used to receiving an inordinate amount of rainfall. Geologists and environmentalists have been warning about the hazards of living in the area. Now we are seeing the consequences of ignoring those warnings.