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Tuesday, Apr 23, 2024

Bad year looms for landslides

Bad year looms for landslides

The Geotechnical Engineering Office received 76 reports of landslides last year, a 48 percent drop compared to 145 reports in 2021, thanks to less rainfall.
Despite the number of landslides hitting a record low since 2004 and causing no casualties, the office reminded the public the risk is still there and that there is no room for complacency.

Sammy Cheung Ping-yip, the office's deputy head (Island), said the incidence of landslides is closely linked to rainstorms.

"It depends on the duration of the rainstorms, and how much rain falls in a short period," Cheung said.

"If the rainfall is relatively average, it won't cause much pressure on the slopes."

But he emphasized that people should not underestimate the potential for damage from landslides, citing the office's figures as showing that a year with fewer landslides will be followed by a year with more landslides.

"Landslides always occur, and the safety principle is indeed simple, the public should stay away from slopes, especially when there is maintenance work being carried out, or when a landslip warning is hoisted," he said.

The office, Cheung said, is spending about HK$1 billion a year to upgrade 150 government man-made slopes, conducting safety-screening studies for 100 private man-made slopes, and implementing studies for 30 natural hillside catchments.

Meanwhile, Bowen Road in the Mid-Levels has been turned into a slope study trail and is open to the public since Monday, after the office finished a range of upgrading works along the road in 2014.

The three-kilometer-long trail has eight spots that gives people insight into the office's work along Bowen Road.

Visitors can use virtual reality features on the office's website to see how the slope maintenance facilities work.

There will be guided tours for schools and people that are led by the office's geotechnical engineers, and these will take place three times a month, mostly on Saturdays.

A guided tour for teachers will be held next month, while the office is considering inviting senior secondary geography students to visit the trail for field studies.

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