Introduction This presentation is a very short scan into landslides occurring in the North of Latin America. Landslides are equivocal disasters given there origin can be very diverse and often are not one dimensional. The sudden movement of vast amounts of earth can be instigated by nature through heavy rains, earthquakes volcanos and many other less evident causes, but landslides are often also closely related to human activity like deforestation and mining. Another aspect of landslides (Lahars, rockslides, avalanches) is that they often permanently change the geography of the former terrain. So building back is not as apparent as for after wind and water related disasters; after a landslide the total locations has to be reassessed. In northern Latin America besides the recurring tropical rainfall, extreme seasonal winds, and abundance of seismic and geological activity, the unprecedented growth of informal urban settlements (slums) adds an extra dimension to the complexity of prevention, redevelopment and risk management in the wake of disaster. Intuitively we think this region has many elements that with close analyses and observation will reveal many lessons on the future of disaster redevelopment, but also larger concepts of global urban dynamics.
Venzuela Venezuela was struck by a enormous disaster in 1999, after several days of heavy rainfall. This lead to widespread landslides causing about 30.000 casualties and 75.000 displaced people and 3.500.000.000 dollars damage. Besides this enormous disaster we observed that Venezuela is frequently hit by smaller reoccurring disasters due to flooding and tropical hurricanes swiping the coasts. On top of the Venezuela is characterized by immense demographic growth, informal urbanization and enormous divide between the rich and poor. The fast growth has lead that the hills surrounding Caracas are completely colonized by make shift housing, composing 70 percent of the dwellings in Caracas. This phenomenon can also be found in various costal areas, and to us seam as disasters waiting to happen.
Venezuela was one of three countries that emerged from the collapse of Gran Colombia in 1830 (the others being Ecuador and New Granada, which became Colombia). For most of the first half of the 20th century, Venezuela was ruled by generally benevolent military strongmen, who promoted the oil industry and allowed for some social reforms. The discovery of massive oil deposits, totaling some 400 million barrels, during World War I prompted an economic boom that lasted into the 1980s; by 1935, Venezuela's per capita GDP was Latin America's highest. After World War II the globalization and heavy immigration from Southern Europe (mainly from Spain, Italy, Portugal) and poorer Latin American countries markedly diversified Venezuelan society.oil sits, toing Word an economt. d heavy immihern Europe (dly died Vene Democratically elected governments have held sway since 1959. Hugo CHAVEZ, president since 1999, seeks to implement his "21st Century Socialism," which purports to alleviate social ills while at the same time attacking globalization and undermining regional stability. Current concerns include: a weakening of democratic institutions, political polarization, a politicized military, drug-related violence along the Colombian border, increasing internal drug consumption, overdependence on the petroleum industry with its price fluctuations, and irresponsible mining operations that are endangering the rain forest indigenous peoples. Venezuela is among the most urbanized countries in Latin America; the vast majority of Venezuelans live in the cities of the north, especially in the capital Caracas which is also the largest city. Other major cities include Maracaibo, Valencia, Maracay, Barquisimeto and Ciudad Guayana. Venezuela is also home to a diversity of wildlife in a variety of protected habitats and is considered to be among the world's 17 most biodiverse countries.he north, espia, Mar diversitye in a vprotectts and is coong the world' History
The petroleum sector dominates Venezuela's mixed economy, accounting for roughly a third of GDP, around 80% of exports, and more than half of government revenues. Venezuela contains some of the largest oil and natural gas reserves in the world. It consistently ranks among the top ten crude oil producers in the world.petroleumnomy, accountort Also_manufacturing contributed 17% of GDP in 2006. In spite of low foreign investment the manufacturing sector continues to increase dramatically at a rate of 26.93% annually. Venezuela manufactures and exports steel, aluminium, transport equipment, textiles, apparel, beverages, and foodstuffs. It produces cement, tires, paper, fertilizer, and assembles cars both for domestic and export markets.rt eq, textiletuffs. I cementpaper, fessembles cd expots. AAgriculture_plays_a_role_as_well. It_accounts for approximately 3% of GDP, 10% of the labor force, and at least one-fourth of Venezuela's land area. Venezuela exports rice, corns, fish, tropical fruits, coffee, beef, and pork.ure_prole_as_wehe labe, and Economy
Venezuela's birth rate is among the highest in South America, after Bolivia, Paraguay and French Guyana. Since 1930, Venezuelan Census does not contain information about ethnicity so only rough estimates are available. Some 70% of the population are Mestizo, defined as a mixture of any other races; another 20% are unmixed caucasians, mostly of Spanish, Italian, Portuguese and German descent. Two of the main Amerindian tribes located in the country are the Wayuu, located in the west, in Zulia, and the Timotocuicas, also in the west, in Mérida, in the Andes. Other important groups include Afro-Venezuelans, though their numbers are unclear due to poor census data. Asians, predominantly Lebanese and other Arabs, Chinese and Turkish descent, make up a small percentage of the population. Only about 5% of Venezuelans are Indigenous.  These groups were joined by sponsored migrants from throughout Europe and neighboring parts of South America by the mid-20th century economic boom.Mestizo, Italiguese a descent. Ameri and est, the Andes. OVenezueir n percenton. Out 5% os are Iring partsmeri According to the World Refugee Survey 2008, published by the U.S. Committee for Refugees and Immigrants, Venezuela hosted a population of refugee and asylum seekers from Colombia numbering 252,200 in 2007. 10,600 new asylum seekers entered Venezuela in 2007.  in 200 About 85% of the population live in urban areas in northern Venezuela; 73% live less than 100 kilometres (62 mi) from the coastline.  Though almost half of Venezuela's land area lies south of the Orinoco, only 5% of Venezuelans live there.on live coa The national and official language is Spanish; 31 indigenous languages are also spoken, including Guajibo, Pemon, Warao, Wayuu, and the various Yanomaman languages. 96% of the population belongs to the Roman Catholic Church.fici In 2007, the homicide rate was 48 per 100,000 people, the highest in the country's history, and among the highest in the world. The government kept these statistics secret from 2005-2008. They were leaked to the world surreptitiously, the hate wer 10eopleuntry's history, ane statistics secret f Demographics
North central coast: Landslide, mud and debris flow and violent flooding Source: R. Sancio & D. Salcedo & newspapers Areas of intense erosion, landslides & mudflows River beds and landslide pathway Alluvial fans, sediments deposition and violent flooding Coastal depositional fan deltas Caracas La Guaira Maiquetía El Ávila Caraballeda
El Guapo dam’s rupture 70% of the water supply of the areas was lost with the rupture of the 60 m height dam with a capac- ity of 140 millions m3.
Post-disaster relief A lot is found on the relief of large management organizations. Yet little is to be found on the on the ground action. Our best sources are currently the Venezuelan Red Cross. Although they seem to have focussed on mental support of traumatized victims, some interesting surveys were done on the stress effects of living in perilous conditions on the slopes. In Caracas ‘Urban Think Tank is the leading authority regarding urban development and understanding of these conditions. We’re currently awaiting info about there role during the 1999 disaster redevelopment. But we think most of the redevelopment did not await government or foreign aid but started the day after the disaster, when survivors themselves start reconstructing new livelihoods elsewhere, in probably equally dangerous locations.
Expectations Caracas and Vargas Region Due to the precarious nature of many of the dwellings in Venezuela, natural disaster has a devastating effect. The make shift homes are almost all self made, constructed on slopes, and in immense densities. During the 1999 landslides which covered predominate the northern slopes of the mountain region north of caracas- the Vargas region had a devastating impact mostly on coastal urban areas. City centers of Caraballeda, La Guira and others were devastated. Infrastructure was destroyed and area left in chaos. Our expectations are to learn and combine the various natures that made such disaster happen. Mapping the urban origin and development we hope to find underlying opportunities to implement urban approach that will influence these developments to construct in a safer and more sustainable way. We see it as an imperative to understand the conditions and incentives that power the urban growth in areas which are clearly advised NOT to live. Clearly socio-economic conditions are an important denominator, but we intend to create a more sensitive understanding behind these seas of housing, that are constructed aware of the threat of future landslides and earthquakes. By creating this understanding we think adequate and appropriate aid can be given in times when disaster will inevitably reoccur.