Spatial and temporal patterns and the socioeconomic impacts of landslides in the tropical and mountainous Colombian Andes

Disasters. 2020 Jul;44(3):596-618. doi: 10.1111/disa.12391. Epub 2020 Jan 14.


Landslides are a natural hazard that presents a major threat to human life and infrastructure. Although they are a very common phenomenon in Colombia, there is a lack of analysis that entails national and comprehensive spatial, temporal, and socioeconomic evaluations of such events based on historical records. This study provides a detailed assessment of the spatial and temporal patterns and the socioeconomic impacts associated with landslides that occurred in the country between 1900 and 2018. Two national landslide databases were consulted and this information was complemented by local and regional landslide catalogues. A total of 30,730 landslides were recorded in the 118-year period. Rainfall is the most common trigger of landslides, responsible for 92 per cent of those registered, but most fatalities (68 per cent) are due to landslides caused by volcanic activity and earthquakes. An 'fN curve' revealed a very high frequency of small and moderate fatal landslides in the time frame.

Keywords: Colombia; economic losses; fatalities; landslides; rainfall.

MeSH terms

  • Colombia
  • Databases, Factual
  • Disasters / economics*
  • Disasters / statistics & numerical data*
  • Humans
  • Landslides / economics*
  • Landslides / statistics & numerical data*
  • Socioeconomic Factors
  • Spatio-Temporal Analysis