By Sarah Parsons and Kristine Lister
Kerala, India made headlines last week when devastating floods and landslides reached their peak. Record monsoon rains and their resulting impacts have killed more than 350 people since June in the southern Indian state.
But Kerala isn’t the only region currently facing extreme rainfall and potential landslides. NASA’s Landslide Hazard Assessment for Situational Awareness (LHASA) model tracks precipitation in areas susceptible to landslides, issuing warnings every 30 minutes. Right now, 62 countries have at least some area of land at high risk of a landslide. Ninety-three have at least some areas facing high or moderate risk.
Countries with the most amount of land at high risk of landslides include Italy, Austria, China, the Philippines and Ethiopia.
To assess landslide risk, the LHASA model factors in rainfall patterns over the last seven days, as well as conditions that affect the susceptibility of the terrain, such as road locations, deforestation, bedrock strength, hill steepness and more.
Here’s a look at the five locations with the largest area at risk of landslides:
More than 7,500 square miles are at high risk of landslides, an area of land larger than the size of Fiji. Most alerts are in the northeastern part of the country as well as the tip of the boot. Heavy rains made news earlier this month when a bridge collapsed in Genoa, an area currently at risk of landslides.
More than 6,000 square miles are at high risk of landslides, mainly in the eastern part of the country along the Italian border.
Nearly 5,600 square miles are at high risk of landslides right now, including areas in Fujian, Hainan, Hebei, Hubei, Jiangxi, Jilin, Qinghai, Shanxi, Sichuan, Xinjiang Uygur, Xizang, Yunnan and Zhejiang provinces.
4) The Philippines
More than 4,800 square miles are at high risk of landslides right now, mainly in the northern part of the country. Monsoon rains have been affecting the region.
About 4,300 square miles of land are at high risk of landslides, mostly in the central part of the nation.
Learn About Landslide Alerts Near You
Issuing an alert—even a high alert—doesn’t necessarily mean that any of these locations will experience landslides. NASA’s LHASA model merely analyzes susceptibility based on conditions like recent rainfall and topography. And because weather patterns change quickly, the situation could be totally different in a week or even a day. Knowing which regions are particularly vulnerable to landslides can help decision-makers and citizens protect themselves from natural disasters.
Track near-real time landslide alerts and find out how susceptible your area is to landslides by accessing data on Resource Watch.