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Mudslides and Landslides

Each year, thousands of mudslides and landslides occur.  However, the majority of them are minor.  They can occur in any region but cause the most damage in mountainous areas.  Larger landslides occur much less frequently; they only happen about once in every ten years.

Quick Facts on Mudslides and Landslides

  • A mudslides or landslide is a mass collapse of rocks or loose sediments that may be caused by nature or by people.

  • A mudslides or landslide can be very slow or very fast.

Minimize the Risk of Mudslides and Landslides:

  • The risk of landslides can be decreased by using several different methods:

Avoiding Potentially Hazardous Areas

  • Using input from experts and careful planning, communities can determine the areas at risk for landslides and monitor or restrict development in hazardous areas.


  • In communities that have been already established, municipal or provincial authorities should determine whether protective measures must be taken to protect the community, such as acquiring and purchasing homes in order to displace the occupants to a safer area.

Civil Engineering Solutions

  • If you are living in a potentially hazardous area, there are several civil engineering solutions that can help to prevent landslides, notably:
  1. Improving drainage.
  2. Reducing the slope’s steepness.
  3. Excavating the top of the slope.
  4. Constructing a wall or berm to reinforce the bottom of the slope.

Confinement or Diversion

  1. When it’s not possible to prevent or avoid a landslide, there are several ways of physical confining or diverting the landslide, most notably: 
    1. Containment dams or confinement basins to retain debris and water.
    2. Artificial canals to divert the debris.
    3. Nets or artificial walls to prevent loose rocks or soil from reaching roads or buildings.