Friday 29 March 2013

Earth events - 28 March, 2013

Man swallowed by giant sinkhole in China dies
A sinkhole four stories deep has opened up in a residential compound in Shenzhen, south China's Guangdong province, swallowing a passer-by.

28 March, 2013

Yang Xibing, 25, was walking along the street on Tuesday evening when he was sucked into a six-metre-wide hole.

Security camera footage shows the moment the ground gave way just inside the gates of a residential complex.

Mr Xibing was later rescued but died in hospital.

Local residents blame illegal digging on a neighbouring construction site for the subsidence, while the Shenzhen Special Zone Daily reported the

Malaysia: Landslide forces 300 to evacuate
IN FEAR: Apartment residents claim slow pace of repairs led to second incident

27 March, 2013

SUBANG JAYA: ABOUT 300 residents of Pangsapuri Beringin in Puchong, here had to vacate their apartment units yesterday when a nearby hillslope collapsed for the second time this year.

The first incident occurred on Feb 19 and residents claimed that repairs were completed late, which resulted in the second landslide about 4.30pm yesterday.
They said an official from the Subang Jaya Municipal Council had directed residents of Block B of the apartments to evacuate to a hall nearby.

Resident Siti Zaleha Dalli, 38, described this landslide as even worse than the first one.

"I was told about the incident at about 4.30pm by my son before I noticed that a large part of the hill slope next to the building had collapsed. I was made to understand that a sewage pipe and a water pipe had burst, which aggravated the situation. The landslide was very near my unit," said Siti Zaleha, who expressed disappointment at the slow pace of repairs following the first landslide.

"When such things happen, we cannot sleep peacefully for fear that our lives may be in danger. If it rains, we will be more worried because the soil will sink."

Another resident, L. Vijayan, 31, also expressed disappointment claiming repairs on the temporary retaining wall were a short-term solution.

"About 2am, I came to learn that there was a burst pipe.

"It was raining heavily then, but I did not expect the situation to turn this bad because I thought the temporary retaining wall could sustain the pressure."
A check revealed that a section of the landslide had affected the back of a row of terrace-houses located near Block B.

Assistant Director of Operations of the Selangor Fire and Rescue Department Mohd Sani Harul said there were no casualties.

The cause of the incident was still being investigated. Bernama
sinkhole may have been caused by erosion from collapsed water pipes.

Landslide on Washington Island Forces Evacuation of 34 Homes

A chunk of Whidbey Island off the coast of Washington slid into water early this morning, forcing the evacuation of 34 homes.

27 March, 2013

At one home at the new cliff edge, a steady stream of soil can be seen leaking out from beneath the building. Authorities are continuing to monitor a house where there's still slide activity, as dirt continues to slough off the cliff, said Central Whidbey Island Fire and Rescue Chief Ed Hartin.

Fire and Rescue went to a home around 4 a.m. this morning in Coupeville on Whidbey Island, Wash., to find it had been pushed off its foundation. Hartin told that when he arrived, the home was already a considerable distance down the cliff by the water.

The landslide stretched across 400 to 500 yards and the earth dropped 600 to 700 yards down to the water, reported ABC's Seattle affiliate KOMO, with trees and tons of dirt smashing into homes down below and wiping out a road. Somehow no one was injured.

Hartin said rescuers used ATVs to reach the home that had slid down the cliff. He said the residents had escaped before the cliff dropped.

Of the 34 homes being evacuated, 17 are below the cliff and were isolated, cut off from the rest of the island by tons of rock, dirt and tress and wiped out the road as well as electrical and water connections, said Hardin.

Island County Sheriff Mark Brown said these residents of these homes are being evacuated by rescue boats to a temporary shelter.

Another 17 homes on the top of the cliff are also being evacuated, as many residents lost portions of their waterfront property to the landslide, said Hartin.

"Where the soil dropped, it forms a sheer cliff," said Brown. "At the top of that cliff, you've got people's backyard that went from 60 feet to now 10 feet."

Whidbey Island is one of two islands in Island County, Wash. The area is home to a mix of both year-long residents and vacation home owners.

"Landslides are not a total uncommon event on the island," Hartin said.

Susan Berta, who lived on Whidbey Island for nearly 14 years, told that the geology of the island is "a constant slow moving active landslide."

"When there's a lot of moisture and freezing and thawing – which we've been having -- what happens is the water goes down the clay layers [of the bluffs], and they become more liquid and just start sliding."

The street that the landslide impacted "has sloughed off and slid pretty much off and on for the last twenty years, said Berta, who worked as a coordinator for a environmental program on the island that taught volunteers about the geology of the island, bluffs, and bluff erosion.

"It's not a surprise that it slid," she said. "To me, what's shocking is that so much went so fast."

Berta said her friend's home on the cliff was impacted by the landslide, and she thinks he lost a considerable portion of his backyard to the event. She and other friends were trying to get together to help him clear out of the home, she said.

"I knew that someday, something like this would happen," she said. "I'm just shocked that so much of it went so quickly."

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