A landslide is the movement of rock, debris or earth down a slope. Landslides result from the failure of the materials which make up the hill slope and are driven by the force of gravity.

Landslides are known also as landslips, slumps or slope failure.

 Landslides can be caused by earthquakes or volcanic activity, but in Queensland, they’re generally caused by heavy rain. The rain saturates the soil on a hillside—often where there has been human activity (e.g. construction where trees and plants have been removed), past the point where any remaining vegetation can support the soil’s weight against the force of gravity. The top saturated layer of soil then slips down the hill—taking whatever is on the land with it.

Be aware of the area you live in — is it close to a hillslope, cliff or steep rocky area? Is there a history of landslides? If you live in such an area and there has been a period of heavy rain, you may be at risk of a landslide. Make sure your household Emergency Plan includes this hazard.

You may notice changes in the yard or house such as:

  • Leaning trees, slumping earth, movement in fences or trees, cracks in paths.
  • Outside walls start to pull away from the building, new cracks appear in plaster, tile, brick or foundations, doors or windows stick for the first time.
  • You may hear a rumbling sound which increases as the landslip nears. A trickle of falling mud or debris may precede a larger slip.
  • Emergency services may have little or no warning of a landslide.

During a Landslide

  • Tune into your local radio station and heed warnings and advice.
  • If it is safe to do so, leave the area and go quickly to your agreed safer location.
  • Advise neighbours and emergency services of the slip threat.
  • If you cannot leave, move to a second storey if there is one. Otherwise curl into a tight ball and protect your head.
  • Follow any instructions from emergency services.

After a Landslide

  • Tune into your local radio station and heed warnings and advice.
  • Stay away from the slip area – there may be danger of additional slips.
  • Watch for flooding, which may occur after a landslide or debris flow.
  • Check for injured and trapped people near the slip and alert emergency services.
  • Look for and report broken utility lines, damaged roads to the appropriate organisations.

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