ODPEM Government of Jamaica
Office of Disaster Preparedness and Emergency Management
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Disasters Do Happen
 
Protect Yourself From Landslides

 


How to tell of Your Property or Your Area is at Risk of Landslides

Look at the slopes around you. If the land is soft and steep, if vegetation has been removed, if water collects near a slope, if the slope has been cut into – all of these things could indicate danger. Also, if it has happened there before, it is likely to happen again.

Talk to “old timers,” persons who’ve lived in the area for some time, and ask the experts to find out more about the landslide history of the area. The more you know, the better prepared you area.

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What You Can Do About It

Take some of the following action to reduce your risk and loss. This is called mitigation:

  1. If you have not yet constructed, find out the history of the area and determine whether you really ought to construct there.
  1. If you go ahead with construction, plant trees and shrubs that bind the soil on slopes and build retaining walls. In mudflow areas, build channels or deflection walls to direct the flow around buildings. There may be legal issues if you divert mudflow to your neighbour’s property.
  1. Plant or maintain well-rooted vegetation on slopes above and below your property. Don’t remove any trees or vegetation – unless the trees are diseased and pose a hazard.
  1. Refrain from doing so much paving that you channel storm run-off to an where it will collect and saturate the soil.
  1. Maintain good drainage.
  1. Beware of building on steep slopes or cutting into them to level the ground for building. It must be done properly and, in some places, not at all. Always consult an expert in this regard.
  1. Putting too much weight on vulnerable areas can contribute to landslide hazards. So can vibrations, such as those caused by jackhammers or heavy trucks.
  1. Beware of changing the natural course of water-ways. This can cause problems, if not to you, then to others.

The forces of nature are beyond our control but if we reduce our vulnerability landslides do not have to become disasters.



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