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MUD SLIDES - Case Study of Aberfan

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Aberfan - Case Study

The Aberfan Disaster

21 October 1966

 

The Aberfan disaster was one of the most devastating disasters in the UK during the last century. 

A combination of hill use for waste disposal and prolonged rainfall lead to the death of several of the population.

The hill slide stood behind a small primary school which would be tragically counght in the full force of the slide.  As three prolonged nights of rainfall saturated the hillside, the shear weight of refuse piled on to the peak of the hil induced full scale slope failure.  The downward  ovement of material engulfed the school and approximateley 20 houses surrounding the slope. The slide occured with such unexpectance that there was no chance for evacuation of the area and particular the school building. The slide drowned the school with tragic consequences.

144 people perished in the slide, 116 of which were school pupils.

The people of Aberfan try to clear the mud from the wreckage of the school. Source- http://www.nuff.ox.ac.uk/politics/aberfan/desc.htm

The following response was given through a Final report published by the Minister of Wales in 1966 -

the Aberfan Disaster is a terrifying tale of bungling ineptitude by many men charged with tasks for which they were totally unfitted, of failure to heed clear warnings, and of total lack of direction from above. Not villains but decent men, led astray by foolishness or by ignorance or by both in combination, are responsible for what happened at Aberfan.

From this we can only assume that the combination of human intervention, miss-education and the underestimation of the power of slope failure all combinated in the chaos that ensued the period of heavy rain.

 

 

 

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