Hong Kong Mudslides 1972

In the 60 years since 1947, 470 people have been killed by landslides in Hong Kong, mostly because of failures associated with slopes that people have interfered with or created. The two largest were the fatal Po Shan Road and Sau Mau Ping on 18th June 1972 (138 fatalities) and 25th August 1976 (18 fatalities).

1972

  • Multiple incidents of landslides have occurred throughout Hong Kong, especially in Wan Chai. Po Shan and Shui Fan landslips have killed 148 people
  • Landslides in 1972 led to improvements in guidelines for hillside excavation and safety and rescue procedures
  • The Po Shan Road caused the largest loss of life from a single mudslide in Hong Kong
  • On 18th June, all British Forces in Hong Kong were mobilised, all police and fire services leave was cancelled and the Civil Aid Service and Auxiliary Medical Servicees were called in to assist rescue Operations

Po Shan Road Landslides, Hong Kong, June 18th, 1972

Work on a construction site above the road, together with exceptionally heavy rainfall in early 1972 caused the landslide.

  • Approximately 40,000m^3 travelled 230 m down slope
  • 138 people killed
  • 20 injured
  • Two buildings destroyed, one of which was 40m high, and one severely damaged
  • Rain storm after the mudslide worsened conditions
  • The main mudslide was 10 seconds long, and forced itself through buildings
  • The road was blocked by falling mud at a construction site, and cracks appeared in a retaining wall
  • The slip carried away nearly all the bamboo framing and metal sheet covering
  • Several buildings underwent subsidence
  • Residents were urged to leave their homes and apartments as a precaution
  • Po Shan Road was cordoned off to the public and nearby homes were evacuated
  • After 8pm, an even larger slip occurred, and in less than 10 seconds, it cleared a section from Po Shan Road to Kotewall Road, destroying several homes and retaining walls
  • The Slip knocked Kotewall Court completely off its foundation and collapsed several flats at Robinson Road and Babington Path
  • 67 were killed and 20 injured in less than a minute
  • Because of the lack of lighting, and because of the rain, as well as the destruction of the transport network, rescue efforts were sporadic
  • Some landslips continued to occur, causing withdrawals of emergency personnel

Sau Mau Ping Landslide, June 16th 1972

  • Landslide buried a squatter village at Sau Mau Ping licensed area
  • 71 people were killed
  • The mud spilled over Tsui Ping Road and into Kwun Tong Resettlement Estate
  • Many of the dead were children
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