Multiple landslides over wet weekend

Multiple landslides over wet weekend

19/10/2021, 12:21 PM

Over the weekend, VICSES received calls to 16 landslide incidents across Victoria, with three at Montrose, two recorded at Mount Evelyn and Kalorama;, and others at Healesville; Mount Martha; Selby; Warburton; Diamond Creek; Lorne; Separation Creek; Ventnor and Wongarra.

VICSES Lilydale Unit volunteers received calls for seven landslide incidents; Lorne taking on three, and many others  receiving calls to one each.

At Hastings, VICSES volunteers were on their way to deal with a downed tree when a call came through from a motorist, whose car had clipped a small landslide on their way through the Esplanade.

The volunteers prioritised this request due to the inherent risk to public safety and arrived on scene to find the landslide block sheer cliff face and no room for pedestrian access on either side. The volunteers set up traffic control in order to assess and reported back to dispatchers as to its size which amounted to about two wheelbarrow loads of dirt with brush and trees hanging out of it.

Unfortunately, another larger landslide had taken place about 50 metres further up, with an uprooted 20-metre tree rolled onto its side, posing a serious threat to public safety. The volunteers remained on scene for four hours, directing traffic around the dangerous mounds, until the arrival of VicRoads and their 25-ton excavator.

At Lorne, several large rocks and other debris had come down onto Lorne-Deans Marsh Road. Again, the Unit assisted with traffic management and made the scene safe which VicRoads contractors were able to clear the debris.

Deputy Chief Officer Alistair Drayton said it was the wet soil and further rainfall that contributed to the landslides in multiple parts of the state over the weekend. Thankfully all were confined to impacts to embankments and roads and there was no damage to private property or any injuries.    

You can help your community by taking notice of the landscape around you, so if you see a significant changes you should immediately contact:

  • The landowner (if on private property)
  • The road authority (if on a road)
  • Local government (if on public property)

There are often no warnings for landslides however they may be triggered by other events such as earthquakes, heavy rain and flooding.

If a landslide occurs and you are outside, the advice is to move away quickly and keep clear of embankments, trees, powerlines and poles. Landslide slopes can continue to move for hours to days afterwards so it’s important to keep clear. Stay safe by avoiding damaged buildings, fallen trees and powerlines, blocked or damaged roads. Be aware of other hazards caused by the landslide.

Roads may become closed due to dangerous driving conditions caused by landslides, and communities may be isolated due to blocked or damaged roads. Stay away from the impacted areas to allow emergency services to help affected communities.

Landslides can carry debris such as boulders and trees downhill, and cause serious damage to buildings. They can be extremely dangerous to anyone on or below the affected area.

Stay informed by monitoring emergency warnings through the VicEmergency app, website and hotline (1800 226 226). Call 132 500 for emergency assistance from VICSES, or call Triple Zero (000) in life threatening emergencies.

Quote attributable to VICSES Hastings Unit Incident Controller, Brett Holland:

“The person who called in had clipped the mound of earth on the way past had done the right thing, by recognising what had happened and immediately calling VICSES as the control agency for landslides. This may have saved lives.”