Early global patterns of loss of life from landslides (updated frequently)

The global hotspots that emerge for landslides are as follows:

  • Along the southern edge of the Himalayan Arc
  • Along the coast of southwest India and in Sri Lanka
  • Along the southern and eastern coastal regions of China, extending inland ~100 km
  • In central China, most notably in the mountains surrounding the Sichuan Basin
  • In the mountain chains along the western edge of the Philippine Sea plate
  • In the central Caribbean islands
  • In a chain that follows the mountains of Central America and South America from Mexico in the north to northern Chile in the south
  • In Indonesia, most notably in and around the island of Java

Not in the paper, but I have determined the number of landslides occurring in each of the key landslide countries worldwide.  Remember that this data is for non-seismic landslides, and that it covers the period 2004-2010 inclusive


Country     Number    Number of

                    of deaths    landslides

                     in 2004-     in 2004-

                       2010           2010

Afghanistan      67                9
Bangladesh      302              58
Bhutan             50               18
Brazil               823              88
China              6860           353
Colombia        564              68
Dominican R.  46                10
Ecuador           48                 8
El Salvador      197              18
Guatemala      2001            45
Haiti                4475            22
Honduras         52               12
India                2415            393
Indonesia        2078            164
Italy                   67               14
Jamaica              20               10
Japan                147               70
Kenya                72               15
Malaysia             53               29
Mexico             318              53
Burma               211              12
Nepal               809              211
Pakistan           1023             102
Papua N.G.      105                13
Peru                  313               29
Philippines       4583             226
Portugal             70                 8
South Africa       12                 8
South Korea       74               16
Spain                   15               12
Sri Lanka             81               21
Taiwan               693              44
Tajikistan            75               16
Thailand            134              20
Turkey                85               22
Uganda              408              15
USA                    64               42
Venezuela           63               23
Vietnam             528              76
Yemen                121               9


Global loss of life from landslides is poorly quantified. A global data set of fatalities from nonseismically triggered landslides that resulted in loss of life between A.D. 2004 and 2010 permits for the first time proper quantification of impacts and spatial distributions. In total, 2620 fatal landslides were recorded worldwide during the 7 yr period of the study, causing a total of 32,322 recorded fatalities. These total numbers of landslides and victims are an order of magnitude greater than other data sets have indicated, but analysis of the data suggests that it may still slightly underestimate the true human costs. The majority of human losses occur in Asia, especially along the Himalayan Arc and in China. This geographical concentration dominates the annual landslide cycle, which peaks in the Northern Hemisphere summer months. Finally, numbers of fatalities per event show a fat-tailed power law distribution, with the density of landslides being moderately correlated with the population density on a national basis.


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